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George's Secret Key to the Universe

Last updated Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Author: Stephan and Lucy Hawking
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 9781416954620
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2011

Synopsis: Summary: George meets his new neighbor Eric and his daughter Annie, who have an amazing computer named Cosmos. Cosmos can "make a window out of thin air" and show you things that are happening in space. This special computer is top secret and unlike any other computer, and George promises not to tell anyone about it. George's teacher, Dr. Reeper, is weird and scary. He seems to know something about this computer, showing a strange interest in Cosmos when George accidentally mentions it in class. On the way home from school, George has a run-in with Ringo and his gang, but Annie intervenes while dressed up in a space-suit, just in time to save him from trouble.

Note to readers:
•  Be sure and introduce Eric and Annie as George's new neighbors, Cosmos as a talking super computer, Ringo as the school bully and gang leader, and creepy Dr. Reeper as George's teacher.
•  The first paragraph of the summary above is good background information for you and the kids to know in order to jump into the rest of the book (which you will begin in chapter 8.)
•  Hear and see each chapter of this book read aloud on YouTube

Discussion topics:
•  Do you know the planets in our solar system? Do you know about Pluto? (information about Pluto and the new definition of what is considered a planet is on p. 87)
•  What do you know about space?
•  Do you know what comets are? Have you seen a shooting star? (Info about comets is on p.104)
•  What do you think it'd be like to be in space? How would it feel?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw any scene from the book; space, comets, planets, Cosmos the super computer, the creepy teacher, or Ringo, etc.
•  Make a comet, or "shooting star."
•  Draw or make Cosmos - what you think a talking super computer would look like?

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!