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George's Secret Key to the Universe

(George #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,718 ratings  ·  620 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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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,718 ratings  ·  620 reviews

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Dec 21, 2007 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
Sep 02, 2007 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
Mar 24, 2014 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
Maria Espadinha
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Universe Witout Yawning

Stars, Planets, Comets, Asteroids, Nebulae, Black Holes, Galaxies... there's a whole population of space inhabitants defying our curiousity -- full of secrets waiting for us to be known!
But those huge complex scientific essays can be so immensely boring, that they easily bury our original enthusiastic curiousity :(

Fortunately, Stephen and Lucy Hawking, were sensitive enough to feel the problem, and created a short series of scientific books, talking about the mysteries
Jun 29, 2008 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
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
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
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this aloud with my 8 year old who is very interested in space. She now wants her own Cosmos so she can go anywhere in the universe. This was a very fun read aloud and we both learned something new about the universe. Paired with the show Cosmos and a few other additional books about space, this made a great spine for our space unit.
Oct 21, 2008 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
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and also the other books in the series!
It really made me want to read more and more!
The series taught me a lot about space and the universe and really enriched my knowledge.
It sounds really fun to be able to travel to space whenever you want through a portal.
I loved the book and really recommend the series for everybody and especially to space and adventure lovers.
I hope you read the and like it.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good children's book that I will definitely give to my potential future children!
Feb 19, 2010 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.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Really like it , it is so good , and cute , my dream is to have an experience like that in my life !!!!
Yoo Yoo
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ryan Cowley
This book was very informative about outer space while providing an exciting story. I first came to this book when I realized the amazing scientist Stephen Hawking participated to write this book. At first, I thought the book would be a fact-packed scientific book but I was wrong. It had an exciting storyline and I believe that I learned plenty from this book. I highly recommend this book to anybody who is willing to read an educational and interesting book.
Without a doubt, 5 stars!

So, I didn't know about this book until two months ago. When I was teaching Year Four, one of my topics was space (stargazers). I did not want to read the book on the curriculum map, which looked so dull, and had nothing to do with space. I begged my class teacher for a different book and I was only allowed a different book if I could find a better space-themed replacement. After ten minutes of searching on book websites recommended for primary-aged children, I found thi
Lena Strugaru
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Again the dilemma of rating a book for kids... As a scientist and a books-for-kids reader and lover I wouldn't give it more than three stars: although I appreciated the plot, the science therein and the introduction to the research world, the characters are a bit stereotypical and the book is too didactic for my taste. Overall I perceived it as a book written to teach (maybe this was its goal, although not exactly what I value in terms of books for kids) to the detriment of the story flow.

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
Royce B
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was SCIENTIFICALLY AWESOME because it is all about science!!!!! The reading age would probably be 5th grade and up. There is a boy named George and he entered a science competition for a computer. Other books from the same author are George and the Big Bang and George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt. Will George win the computer? Read the end of the book to find out!!!
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
amazing read ! 6yr old kind of had to take a break but he quickly wanted to come back... well I read aloud this one . did not miss the fact sheets and it took longer than we usually take , totally worth the time though
Yes, I know I put this book in two categories that should be mutually exclusive. Let me explain. This book was written by Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy. Their aim was to interest kids in science, so they wrote a fictional story but the science is completely accurate. Well, I'm not certain about Cosmos but the rest is apparently completely accurate. This is a book about George who has been raised by parents who don't trust technology and try to live without it. George doesm't appreciate t ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice try, but not good enough. The science isn't quite right, the plot is lame, the writing is awkward. And the introduction of fantastical elements is extremely off-putting. I don't think kids already interested in science will like it at all (for all those reasons) and those who are not interested will not become so (the science bits read too much like a textbook). The kids are cute though, as is Freddy. I liked that the bullies had personalities.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook with the kids. My 8 year old loved it. I enjoyed how much information it had. We'll definitely be reading the next couple books.
The whole language of this book had a tone that gave me the impression of an author who isn't really taking children serious. It feels like only a story that is handed out to kids temporarily, to help them become adults as quick as possible. It is not speaking to the children as human beings, but to unfinished grown-ups.

"It's so hard to explain things to those incomplete adults and nailbitingly frustrating to write a book that suits them because you have to intentionally dumb down every thing!"
Nynke Doesburg
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
The science is wrapped in such an appallingly bad story... what a letdown.
Bf Mom
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Ordered a copy for Joe :) It's the Magic Tree House of Space and Physics!
Pop Bop
May 17, 2015 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,
Oct 20, 2015 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
Steve Rogers
Mar 12, 2013 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 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 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
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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.

Other books in the series

George (6 books)
  • George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
  • George and the Big Bang
  • George and the Unbreakable Code
  • George and the Blue Moon
  • George and the Ship of Time
“I swear to use my scientific knowledge for the good of Humanity. I promise never to harm any person in my search for enlightenment.

I shall be courageous and careful in my quest for greater knowledge about the mysteries that surround us. I shall not use scientific knowledge for my own personal gain or give it to those who seek to destroy the wonderful planet on which we live.

If I break this oath, may the beauty and wonder of the Universe forever remain hidden from me.”
“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.” 2 likes
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