Young George longs to venture beyond the sheltered life with his “back-to-nature” parents. His deprivation from modern conveniences isn’t the worst of it. What George desperately wants is a computer. When he stumbles into the new neighbors and their incredible super-computer, Cosmos, he is able to explore all the mysteries of the universe. But exploration is not without risk and ultimately young George will meet the challenges of black holes, school bullies and the evil science teacher, Dr. G. Reeper.

“Just another undiscovered part of the Universe. All in a day’s work.”

page 202

Sprinkled liberally throughout the book are awesome glossy space photos. The fact sheets (from Cosmos the supercomputer) provide plenty of information bites about everything from the moons of Saturn to black holes.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

You can’t ask for more geeky than a children’s book written by Stephen Hawking (and his daughter).

Rating (2 stars)

I only wish I could give this book a winning review.

Unfortunately, while the idea of making hard science accessible to young readers in the way that historical fiction brings history alive is a fantastic idea, it doesn’t quite work here. The story is a mix of standard sci-fi (George is able to travel in space and time through the portal opened by the super-computer, Cosmos) and hard science presented as mini lessons from the computer. It lacks a quality story, is fairly predictable and feels gimmicky at almost every turn of the page. I felt it was jarring to constantly have the story interrupted by the fact sheets about the universe that did not provide much to the story itself.

Caveat: I may be all wrong. At least someone has been enjoying this book, as there are two sequels. George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt and George and the Big Bang.