In their bestselling book for young readers, noted physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy, provide a grand and funny adventure that explains fascinating information about our universe, including Dr. Hawking's latest ideas about black holes. It's the story of George, who's taken through the vastness of space by a scientist, his daughter, and their super-computer named Cosmos. George's Secret Key to the Universe was a New York Times bestseller and a selection of Al's Book Club on the Today show.
What better way to interest young readers in science and specifically in its relevance to the long-term survival of humankind than for one of the world's most renowned theoretical physicists to put his subject at the center of a children's book? Stephen Hawking, his novelist daughter, and French physicist Galfard create two inquisitive, middle-school heroes, then send them on wondrous adventures through time and space. The characters round out their experiences with information regarding everything from nuclear fusion reactions to neutron stars to the origin of black holes. In this first volume of a projected trilogy, George Greenby whose technophobic parents have done their best to shelter him from the dangers of the modern world (computers, television, grape soda, etc.) meets his headstrong new neighbor Annie, her scientist father and his super-computer Cosmos, a machine capable of instantaneously taking the two young explorers anywhere in the universe. His decidedly na ve worldview undergoes a breathtaking transformation when he gets the opportunity to ride a comet through the solar system and witness the death of a black hole. The authors handily explore a range of themes, among them, the moral responsibilities of science, global warming and space colonization. Four insets of color photos from outer space and Parsons's cartoons enhance the broad appeal of this book, a true beginner's guide to A Brief History of Time. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)
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The title says it all: this book epitomizes everything one can do wrong in publishing an e-book. It's at least as expensive as a printed copy, yet contains no additional features (such, for example, as the interactive features present in Dawkins' "Magic of Reality"). It's DRM locked, so it can be viewed only from within Apple-approved software (iBooks). Most egregiously, however, it appears to have been prepared using an OCR'd scan! Multiple formatting errors and typos are present that conclusively show this to be the case - how else, for example, (Freudian slips aside) to explain the replacement of multiple "s"'s with "$"? (And this is by no means the only such example.) Why, why, WHY would the e-book not be prepared from the electronic files used to prepare the actual print copy? In addition to the multiple typos introduced by this mind-bogglingly stupid decision, there are multiple cases where chunks of text are repeated, and I've now encountered one spot (Chapter 27) where at least some of the text appears to have been omitted.
I've been reading this book to my kids before bed each night, and now, at 2/3rds of the way through, have to decide whether it's worth my while to try and continue despite having lost a chunk of a chapter, and without knowing whether still more such errors are present later on.
Save your money, or buy a print copy - this is NOT worth downloading.