Posted in Book reviews by Ayaan, Book reviews by kids

Book review: George’s Secret Key to the Universe

George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking


George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781416985846

Ayaan reviewed his own copy of this book

George’s Secret Key to the Universe is the first of six books in the George’s Secret Key to the Universe series.

The series is written by Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy Hawking. The first three books are written by both of them but then Stephen Hawking died. Lucy Hawking wrote the last three books in the series and used lots more of her father’s ideas.

The story features George who meets Annie and her father named Eric through a pig investigation. They have a supercomputer named Cosmos and he can open a portal that can take you anywhere in the universe. But before George can view or work with Cosmos, he has to take the Oath of the Scientist.

The next day, George goes to school and Eric’s enemy, Dr Reeper, tries to take Cosmos by leading Eric into a black hole. George goes to Annie and they track down Cosmos. But can they get to Eric in time?

I would rate this book five stars. It is action-packed and is full of amazing science facts. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves science, just like me!

Note about Stephen Hawking: He was a world-famous cosmologist and physicist who has written many famous books. He was diagnosed motor neurone disease when in his early 20s and was told that he would only live for a few more years but he lived until he was 75 through pure determination to live!    

Ayaan is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his book reviews here. To send us YOUR book review, read our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by Ayaan, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Bad Beginning


The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 9780064407663

Ayaan reviewed his own copy of this book.

This is a book written by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler).

The Bad Beginning is the first book in the series: A Series of Unfortunate Events. The series, unsurprisingly, has thirteen books, and the thirteenth book ends on the thirteenth chapter! These books are about the misfortune of the Baudelaire children. 

This first book in the series is the start of the Baudlaire children’s misfortune and misery. The Baudelaire children are orphans after a fire that wiped out their parents. Violet, who is the oldest and a girl of fourteen, loves inventing. Klaus, a boy of twelve, is an avid reader. Sunny, an infant, has four sharp teeth and loves to bite things. Violet is to inherit the Baudelaire fortune when she is of age.

They are adopted by Count Olaf who is horrid and mean. But is he just mean or is something sinister going on? When they come over for dinner, his acting troupe look a bit suspicious. When the children are invited to perform in Count Olaf’s play, something seems amiss. What are Count Olaf and his troupe planning?

I would rate this book five stars as it is mysteriously interesting. This book is good for people who like mystery and are aged 9+.

Oh, by the way, the book is written in a way that not many books are written. Just something you ought to know.

(Take a sneak peek inside the book!)

This is Ayaan’s first review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Three Quick Questions – Robyn Opie Parnell #20

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Robyn Opie Parnell, author of many books, including the Black Baron seriesand Maya and the Crystal Skull, which will be released in November 2011.

Maya and the Crystal Skull (cover)

1. Where do you like to write?

My favourite place to write is my favourite recliner chair in the lounge room. I usually write in this recliner chair with my feet up and my laptop on my lap. Talk about comfy!

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

In the last week, I’ve read my own book Maya and the Crystal Skull twice to check for mistakes before the book is printed. Amazingly, I still enjoyed the book after reading it twice in one week. Of course this means I haven’t read any other books in this time. Prior to that, I was researching the ancient Maya for a second book in the Maya and the Crystal Skull series. So I’m not much help in the recent reading of a children’s book department. But I can recommend a book I’ve read in the last six months. It’s a young adult book— the first book in the fifth shadow series by Alison Ashley. It was a thoroughly good read.

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Over the moon.

Find out more about Robyn Opie Parnell—visit her blog, and her website.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Robyn Opie Parnell” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow when we talk to author and poet Janeen Brian.)