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

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  3,139 Ratings  ·  438 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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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
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
Dec 25, 2016 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
Хлопчик Джордж, погнавшись за своїм непосидючим кабанцем, потрапляє до таємничого сусіднього будинку. Тут для нього дивне геть усе – маленька дівчинка-фантазерка Енні, її неуважний тато-вчений Ерік, вщерть напхана науковими книжками бібліотека, а надто ж – Космос, трохи сноб і мізантроп, а за сумісництвом — найпотужніший комп’ютер у світі. Для Джорджа, який росте у сім’ї екологічних активістів, котрі вважають науку і техніку найбільшою загрозою природі, таке технічне диво здається геть неймовірн ...more
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
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
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
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.
Suzanna E. Leonard
De informatie in het boek is erg boeiend, maar de verhaallijn hangt een beetje slordig aan elkaar. Geloofwaardig is het ook niet. Het is natuurlijk fictie en fantasie moet kunnen, maar de combinatie van al de elementen (de achtergrond van de ouders van George, pestproblematiek, wetenschap, avontuurlijke reizen door het heelal, een leerkracht met slechte bedoelingen, een supercomputer, een loslopend varken, ...) is te veel. Hierdoor verliest het verhaal aan kracht. De feiten over het heelal zijn ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Carla Cove
Jan 06, 2014 Carla Cove rated it it was amazing
Great book! I read this when our eldest son was 8yo and he still remembers much of the science he learned from it. I just finished reading this book to our 5yo and he was forever begging for the next chapter and telling all his friends about the story!! Very engaging and wonderful ideas generator.
Lori Cotton
Jan 28, 2013 Lori Cotton rated it really liked it
Excellent book. My 8 year old read it, loved it, and is asking for more. It served as a well written introduction to Hawkings' research.
Sep 28, 2010 Annemarie rated it it was amazing
my boys really loved this, they looked forward to bed time and loved all the facts and details. Great book and really well written.
Ryan Patrick
Mar 03, 2015 Ryan Patrick rated it it was ok
Aug 28, 2015 Tasmin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viel gelernt und schnell gelesen :)
Raaghav Thirumaligai
Jan 16, 2017 Raaghav Thirumaligai rated it really liked it
George's Secret Key to the Universe is a realistic science fiction novel. George's parents believe that the humans are destroying the earth by using electricity and unfriendly materials to the environment. For George he can't use technology because it will make him less conservative about helping the planet. George's neighbor, Eric and his daughter Annie have a super computer that can transport you around the known parts of the universe. His parents warn George to be wary of his new neighbors an ...more
Книжни Криле
Гениалният учен Стивън Хокинг не се нуждае от представяне. Теориите му, трудовете му, дори биографията му са постоянен обект на интерес и то далеч не само от страна на научните общности. Но знаехте ли, че освен всичко Стивън Хокинг е и автор на приключенско-образователна детска литература? Той и дъщеря му Луси Хокинг работят заедно по „Тайният ключ на Джордж за Вселената” (изд. „Сиела”)– адски забавен, разбираем и достъпен начин за деца (и родители!) да навлязат в необятния свят на космологията! ...more
Dec 16, 2016 AveryHARRYSON rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Merinda Muir
Jan 16, 2017 Merinda Muir rated it really liked it
Great kids book for curious minds. Why is Mars red? Is there water on mars? Can we find another planet we can live on - or can we save our own. Take a journey to discover the birth and death of stars, riding a comet through the solar system, escaping black holes and super robot. Fun and engaging this book aims to introduces the power and puzzle that is science.
Sofiia Kondrashova
Книга для дитини і для дорослого. Автор переніс у світ незвіданого і неосяжного( принаймі для мого розуму). Пригоди, дитячий світ, добро і зло, наука і природа- це все живе поруч.
Отримала велике задоволення. Збережу книгу для свого сина.
Jan 12, 2017 Amy rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this. The storyline was completely absurd. And the space facts, while interesting were placed in tables separate from the story & therefore easily overlooked.
Agoaye Leblog
Un livre qui plaira sûrement aux enfants bons lecteurs ou ados qui s'intéressent à l'univers.
L'aventure est assez captivante et les encarts informatifs sont très ludiques.
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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.
More about Lucy Hawking...

Other Books in the Series

George (4 books)
  • George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt (George's Secret Key)
  • George and the Big Bang
  • George and the Unbreakable Code

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“So really,” continued Eric, “I should be saying sorry to you, for jumping to the wrong conclusion. Instead of considering all the evidence, I just applied some common sense—otherwise known as prejudice—and came up with a totally wrong answer.” 1 likes
“I wanted to tell you about it because science is really important. Without it, we don’t understand anything, so how can we get anything right or make any good decisions? Some people think science is boring, some people think it’s dangerous—and if we don’t get interested in science and learn about it and use it properly, then maybe it is those things. But if you try and understand it, it’s fascinating, and it matters to us and to the future of our planet.” 1 likes
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