Dissapointing: George's Secret Key to the Universe

George's Secret Key to the Universe - 'Stephen Hawking',  'Lucy Hawking' George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt - Lucy Hawking, Stephen Hawking, Garry Parsons George and the Big Bang - Stephen Hawking, Lucy Hawking, Garry Parsons

After several weeks of being too busy to post, I appear to be spending my Mother's Day catching up on the backlog of books waiting for reviews


I wanted to like these books, a trio of children's books authored primarily by Lucy Hawking with assistance from her father, the famous Steven Hawking.  The concept is intriguing, fiction for children grounded in real science. I can't tell if the problem is just that I'm not the target audience, but I found the execution lacking. 


The best part of the book was the color photographs of various astronomical bodies featured in the story.  However, most of the images used were taken from the "greatest NASA hits" that have been featured in many non-fiction books about astronomy.  The sidebar discussions of astronomical concepts were clearly written, but most reiterated information that my sons already knew from other sources.  (Though they may not be a representative sample of young readers as they have read a lot of astronomy and science both because Mom is a bit of a science geek and provided lots of exposure and in part because of the extended Solar System study/projects in 3rd grade).  The stories of George, his younger neighbor Annie, Annie's Dad Eric (an astronomer), the evil Dr. Reeper, and the magic computer Cosmos are simplistic and a bit boring.


In short, while some books nominally for children may appeal to adults, these do not. I read one and skimmed the other.  My 4th grader liked them well enough to read all 3, but not enough to read them more than once.  My 6th grader read one and decided he wasn't interested in the rest.  While longer than the typical "Early Chapter Book" for emerging readers, I can see how these books might appeal to strong 2nd or 3rd grade readers, especially ones whose parents didn't expose them to a lot of astronomy or science.