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George's Secret Key to the Universe (George #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,733 Ratings  ·  395 Reviews
Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George's parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published 2007)
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George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy HawkingThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankIf You Lived Here by Giles LarocheBalloons Over Broadway by Melissa SweetCastle by David Macaulay
Best Children's Nonfiction
1st out of 221 books — 76 voters
The Jupiter Chronicles by Leonardo RamirezMoonshot by Brian FlocaAstronaut Handbook by Meghan MccarthyIf You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNultyI Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
Best Space Books For Kids
9th out of 40 books — 63 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kewpie
Dec 24, 2007 Kewpie rated it it was amazing
This book will teach the budding elementary school aged geek some of the newest theories about black holes. It will teach adults about Stephen Hawking's playful mind and sense of humor.

This book was written for those pre-geek second and third graders who read all the astronomy books in the j520 section of the library and then pester their parents, teachers and school librarians about the big bang, black holes, comets and life on other planets. I've done stints in elementary school libraries and
...more
John
Aug 22, 2008 John rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: children-ya
Wow, what a disappointment. Hawking stoops (in both the avian and, to judge from the result, aristocratic senses of the word) to conquer a young audience, and lands hard on his beak.

This SF tale is festooned with science lessons, and is plainly intended to convince young readers of the importance of knowing the laws of physics--yet those laws are blown off over and over as the story goes along. Furthermore, there are these huge gaps in internal logic--for instance, young George's parents are suc
...more
Serena ☼
Dec 27, 2014 Serena ☼ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'unico libro che mi ha fatto amare la Fisica ...more
Laura
Jun 18, 2015 Laura rated it did not like it
This is a banal and rudimentary story that shamelessly exploits Stephen Hawking’s reputation in order to increase sales. It tells the story of a young boy from an anti-technology family who goes on a wild ride through the universe with help of his neighbour’s supercomputer. This whole book is excessively didactic. The whole point seems to be to ram it down readers’ throats that science is wonderful and people who oppose technology are ignorant fools. The portrayal of the anti-science family is w ...more
Tony
Feb 04, 2013 Tony rated it it was amazing
Lucy Hawking is a great speaker. I managed to attend a talk by her that was aimed at children 8-12 but was interesting for an adult as well. It is not easy to boil the immense ideas of physics and the nature of the universe down in to chunks that children can understand. After listening to Lucy Hawking speak I went straight out and bought this book. I have spent a couple of weeks readying a couple of chapters a night to my five year old boy. The fiction part of this this book is simple enough fo ...more
Paloma
Dec 16, 2008 Paloma rated it it was amazing
What an easy way to study science in a intresting book. During the reading I learned things that I never thought would. Educational science was the principal idea of Lucy and Stephen the authors of this book. We should take care of our planet because if we dont it will be better difficult for us humans to find another place to leave. George secret key to the universe is a book that helps us reflect in our actions towards our planet. A lot of information is being transmitted to us thanks to the ...more
Amanda
Jun 29, 2008 Amanda rated it did not like it
I really thought this one was terrible. The science was interesting, but too much like science fiction, so that it seemed like fantasy. The writing was good enough, but some of the themes were disturbing. I think the ending was supposed to be a coming-together of all the different factions, but it message of the book seemed to be that environmentalists are against all technology and innovation, and that it’s okay if we destroy this planet because science can find us a new one.

I would love someon
...more
Qt
Feb 25, 2010 Qt rated it liked it
Pleasant adventure, with lots of humor and scientific information. I loved the actual photos of astronomical objects, and also the cute illustrations.
Steve Rogers
Mar 12, 2013 Steve Rogers rated it really liked it
Shelves: pgce
When his pet pig disappears into his neighbor's garden, George stumbles into a house that has supposedly been abandoned for years. He soon discovers that there are in fact people living there called Eric and his daughter, Annie, who are both obsessed with science. George is unaware that this new friendship with these mysterious occupants will soon change his life forever, as he begins a journey that will take him across the universe and back again.

Eric has a computer called Cosmos. Cosmos is the
...more
Krista
Jan 17, 2011 Krista rated it liked it
The adventures of George as he explores the universe with an unlikely computer named Cosmos; science lessons included.

I'm on the fence about this book. Plainly, it is meant to clothe the miracle of physics into language that children can understand but the laws of physics themselves are blown off at almost every plot point.

Then there's the part where a person gets sucked into a black hole but the super-computer speeds up time and sucks him back out again, putting him back together, particle by p
...more
Lara
I probably only liked this book 2-stars worth, but Hugh Dancy's reading ups it by a star, because that, at least, was pretty great. At the beginning, I loved this. It had a real fairy-tail-like quality to it, and it actually seemed very smart and funny. Only once we got to Eric's house, things quickly deteriorated. For me, at least. I found the lecture aspects of the dialogue really irritating, and the whole idea of Cosmos, this magical computer that can send you into outer space, a little too c ...more
Tina
Oct 15, 2012 Tina rated it liked it
So the bf does physics and astrophysics at uni and he talks science. I am quite bad at science and there was no one happier than me when I did my last science class at uni, so when I saw this book I thought 'Stephen Hawking, yukky sciency stuff in junior novel form? This should be fun' Now I know a tiny tiny bit about planets and stars (The magic school bus was probably the first one to explain it in a way I understood when I was little and I took a cosmology class at uni and I didn't do so terr ...more
Lisa the Librarian
Jan 24, 2009 Lisa the Librarian rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Kids interested in science and/or space
Co-written by renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, author, Lucy Hawking. The story is a fun adventure that explores the vastness of space and explores our solar system along with the daily drama of middle school.

I have mixed feelings about the portions of the book that were obviously contributed by Stephen. The facts were interesting and informative and helped the understanding of the universe. BUT the layout was a bit distracting. (Like those side bars and fact boxe
...more
Thom
Sep 04, 2015 Thom rated it liked it
An average story where the boy learns something and saves the world. The science is decent (I would hope so) and plot is okay. The villain is evil and the protagonists good, though that uber-computer Cosmos is a bit over-the-top. Color photos were nice, but the sidebars (on facts, planets and other relevant bits of information) definitely got in the way. They would have been better collected into an appendix or glossary that could be referred to when necessary. Read with daughter (11) and I felt ...more
Kristy
Jan 15, 2014 Kristy rated it really liked it
My 7-year-old really liked this chapter book. It's by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, and although it's fiction, it includes pages of data and full-color photos and images of space. It's a fun story. The writing is not the best I've read. Bits of the story annoy me. The sets of parents in the book are basically ridiculed for their different styles of parenting and the characters are pretty flat. BUT, it's still a good read for this age and has my child begging for more from STEPHEN HAWKING. So it's a ...more
Courtney
Apr 16, 2015 Courtney rated it liked it
Mrs. Frizzle meets Sherman and Peabody; this title provided a vast amount of scientific information regarding space topics. With great actual pictures of space, it's perfect for 3-5th graders interested in the universe. I personally did not care for the writing style, often finding myself questioning the plot and character development.
Sarah
Despite being a science teacher by profession, despite being a supporter of science, despite wanting to love this book, I did not. It was slow, painfully stereotypical in its characters (main scienctist = crooked glasses, ruffled hair, gangly, kind; bad scientist = mean, ugly, collection of students to do his bidding...), predictable, and had too much of an agenda. I painfully wanted to be able to skim the book to get to the ending to say I finished it, but instead I had to listen, and listen, a ...more
Scooping it Up
The kids ages 7-10 LOVED this. We spoke so much about the science dripping from the pages it was slow to move through plot because we kept having to stop, pull up internet videos of Dr Hawking speaking, videos and pictures of the galaxy, other planets, their moons, black holes etc. We would spent half of our reading time each night discussing and learning more that it took a little longer than I thought

It was a fabulous introduction into astronomy and how space time and light work together. The
...more
Instituto Alpujarra

El libro ha sido leído por el alumnado de 1º de ESO del centro durante el primer trimestre. Se trata de una lectura obligatoria que forma parte del itinerario lector del centro, haciendo coincidir su lectura con los contenidos relacionados con la temática del libro que se imparten en la materia de Ciencias Naturales.
En líneas generales la opinión de los alumnos es buena. No obstante, se trata de un libro al que hay que enfrentarse con un hábito lector más o menos bien adquirido. Por ello se reco
...more
Sarah
Oct 21, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok
I bought this for my kids, but they were both too old for it. I read it out of curiosity. Give it a solid 'Meh.' Yes, there are sciency text book pages in here, but by the end I was skipping them. Skipping them because I was not the target audience, and I was already familiar with most of it. Skipping them also because they were in no way necessary to the plot or story.

The story was weak. Smart kid has unfufilling homelife, and gets picked on by bullies. Weird/great people move in next door and
...more
Pop Bop
May 17, 2015 Pop Bop rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
As Advertised - Engaging Characters, Decent Plot, Real Science

Remember the 1950's TV show "Watch Mr. Wizard"? Kids visited Mr. Wizard in his home lab and he demonstrated various scientific principles and the science behind ordinary objects. It was great educational TV, it had millions of viewers and associated Mr. Wizard science clubs, it gave rise to the tag line "Gee, Mr. Wizard!", and it probably inspired the Professor Proton character so dear to Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory". But,
...more
Maxim Koretsky
Jan 12, 2015 Maxim Koretsky rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in science, kids
In the book Georges Secret Key to the Universe, George Greenbly is a determined young boy who loves science, space and the Cosmos. He joins the Order of Scientific Inquiry for the Good of Humanity or, the O.S.I.G.H where he learns a lot about the sun and other stars. George embarks on adventures that teach him valuable lessons and science skills.
George's Secret Key to the Universe was written by Stephen Hawking's daughter Lucy Hawking and is meant more for young readers who would have trouble u
...more
Judy
Apr 26, 2016 Judy rated it liked it
This is an odd little book. I think it targets kids who are about 9 years old and are passionate about space. But the story is awkward. The fictional storyline is fairly superficial, straight-forward, and not terribly engaging. The factual info is treated in encyclopedic (or textbook) form, appearing as boxed items throughout the text. In addition, there are two sections of colored photos. The boxed info, reading like a textbook as it does, just isn't very interesting. I don't understand why aut ...more
Laura
Jul 03, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
My mom sent this book to my son a few years ago, and as is true with most books recommended to him, he ignored it. (He's an avid reader, but only if he chooses the book himself.)

It was recently recommended to me by thoughtful booksellers at our local indie children's bookstore when I asked them for a good fiction book on space. Judging it by the fact that it needs to be accurate about space, and that it might be engaging to readers of a wide age range, this book is a clear winner. It does exact
...more
Aaveg Mishra
Mar 31, 2015 Aaveg Mishra rated it really liked it
The brilliant mastermind and astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy Hawking combine to make a book that can capture the attention of many young readers. This book George’s Secret Key to the Universe conveys a lot of information of the many things in the vast universe that stretches beyond our naked eyes. This work of scientific fiction is written in a way that would be easy to read, and provides a mystery in the background of the story.
The story is about a boy whose parents are n
...more
Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic)
Jan 31, 2014 Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic) rated it it was amazing
When I went to the library the other day, I saw this book sitting on the middle-grade shelf. I still remember getting a few sample chapters of this book in England in a magazine, yet I never got around to reading it. As I am obsessed with physics and learning about space, I thought this would be a good book to read and I can safely say I absolutely adored it!

George's Secret Key to the Universe is about George, a little boy who is the son of two eco-friendly, planet saving activists who think sci
...more
Gabe Fantacone
Sep 22, 2014 Gabe Fantacone rated it really liked it
George’s Secret Key to the Universe is a very good recommendation for young readers who want to learn more about science and how it works. The author’s writing reminds me of the time in fifth grade when some scientists from Cal came to our class and gave a lecture about biology. It was easy to understand and very interesting, just like this book. However, one weakness about this book is that one part of the book is very scientifically inaccurate. It’s impossible to open a portal into space! The ...more
Agatha
Mar 10, 2014 Agatha rated it it was amazing
Recommended! Kind of like the Magic Tree House books, but it teaches science and outer space, instead of history or biographies. Both my 6yo daughter and I found it very interesting, compelling, and readable! (I read it out loud to her.)

George and his parents live in England and his parents are very into saving the Earth and eschewing technology. They have told him to stay out of the backyard of the house next door, which, apparently, is abandoned. The previous owner, an old man, went mysteriou
...more
Mattias
Feb 17, 2016 Mattias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Hawking är professor i matematik och teoretisk fysik vid universitetet i Cambridge. Han är en av de mest framstående teoretiska fysikerna sedan Einstein. Tillsammans med sin dotter Lucy, som är författare och journalist, så har han skrivit en barnbok om George. Och universums hemlighet.

Det är på ytan en rätt vanlig bok för barn i åldrarna 9-12 år, som handlar om huvudpersonen George, men också om tjejkompisen Annie, skolan, föräldrar, lärare och annat som barn har funderingar kring. Men
...more
Tasmetu
Aug 28, 2015 Tasmetu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viel gelernt und schnell gelesen :)
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Lucy Hawking is a novelist who has also written several children's books in collaboration with her father, physicist Stephen W. Hawking.
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