George's Secret Key To The Universe - Solar System

George’s Secret Key To The Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking is an exciting way into children learning about the solar system. George's lives next door to a scientist, Eric, his daughter, Annie and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos. Cosmos can create a portal to the universe and Annie and George hitch a ride on a comet to zoom around the solar system. At the same time the villain, Mr Reeper steals Cosmos and sends Eric on a one way trip down a black hole.  George rescues Cosmos and together they are able to save Eric. It is a fun read and contains lots of factual sections on the solar system, in between the chapters.

This story provides a good fictional context to:

  • describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system 
  • describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth
  • describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies
  • use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky

Scientific Vocabulary: Earth, planets, Sun, solar system, Moon, sphere/spherical, rotate/rotation​, spin, night and day, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, 'dwarf' planet, orbit​, revolve, geocentric model, heliocentric model, shadow clocks, sundial.

Other fiction books on a similar theme are:

Fortunately The Milk – Neil Gaiman

The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Rocket – John Byne

The Voyage of Mae Jemison- Susan Canizares

Baby Brains  - Simon James

Zoo in the Sky – Jacqueline Mitton

Man on the moon ( A Day in the life of Bob)- Simon Bartram

Black Holes and Uncle Albert – Russell Stannard

Q Pootle 5  - Nick Butterworth

The Adventures of TinTin - Explorers on the Moon - Herge