Friday, October 28, 2011

George's Secret Key to the Universe

George's Secret Key to the Universe
Lucy & Stephen Hawking
with Christophe Galfard
Illustrations by Garry Parsons

"We are in a gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." - by Oscar Wilde

Even when man had not fully discovered his own planet and all the lands on it, even before he started mapping and learning all the living things on earth, even before he probably wore a shred of cloth on his body, even before he started worrying about things other than food for his next day - he was probably enamored by the ever present big and dark sky with the twinkling stars. All he had to do was look up and wonder.

Do other animals see the sky and wonder about it? We will probably never know, but we definitely know that night sky with its millions of stars brings out the sense of wonder in even the most cynical of us.

George lives with his nature loving family and technophobes - a family which does not believe in electricity nor any other electronics items; a family which believes that we need to give back to the earth all that we have stolen through our constant innovation and greed. Can you imagine the amount of pressure a kid like this would have to go through in a school environment where every one else talks about television and other gadgets that they use? Due to a rather merry accident, George meets his new next door neighbor, Eric, a scientist who has the most powerful computer in the world(called Cosmos) that can open portals into space and study space directly. George along with Eric and his daughter, Annie, have some dangerous adventures in space. In the process he helps his new neighbor escape from a black hole and deliver a scintillating lecture in his school. As part of his adventures, we learn about meteors, planets and other celestial concepts and objects in an easy and simple manner. There are some wonderful photographs of space and facts presented in a lucid manner for 7-9 year old kids.

The book takes one, in a subtle manner, through a series of very important questions of our age. Is science helpful or harmful? Is the study of space important at all when there is so much of problems on our earth? How important is to protect our earth? The book does not deliver the answers - but, it does hint that it is important that we aim for a balance.

If you have a 7-9 year old, who is highly interested in space and keeps you asking questions about space - this is definitely the book you should pick up. If your kid is looking for some plain and simple science fiction based adventure story - this is also the book for you. For an adult, it is a simple and breezy read.


Choxbox said...

This one rocks! Great review Sathish, enjoyed reading your take on this much-loved book :)

sandhya said...

Whoa! Great review, Satish. Brings the book alive- I have read bits and pieces of the book- enough to get a flavour of the book, but now methinks it is time to read it through. A has read this one and the next too, and has been after me to pick it up. Time I did!

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