Sunday, August 9, 2009

George's Secret Key to the Universe

By Lucy and Stephen Hawking

We've just finished George's Secret Key to the Universe as the boys' bed-time story book, and it was terrific. It had everything a kid (small or large) could want - cool characters, action and adventure, black holes, the cleverest computer in the world, great illustrations and lots of photos and space facts. In fact I'd barely finished reading aloud the last chapter when Mr Seven-year-old snatched it out of my hands to start reading it over himself.

This is a great book for boys. I say this because the bookshelves seem to be loaded with great books for girls, but I sometimes feel fabulous boys fiction is under-represented, particularly in the younger age groups. So I always welcome your suggestions for cool boy's books. I'm thinking Tolkein's The Hobbit for our next read.

So come on, some of you, ahem, older guys out there. Give me some hints; what books captured your imagination when you were younger?


patrick foster said...

'Have Spacesuit, Will Travel' by Heinlein. Dated even then, but brilliantly entertaining.

Dave B said...

Hmmm ... The Hardy Boys and their quirky titles such as

'The Secret of ...'
'The Mystery of ...'
'The Ghost of ...' etc

I also think I read all the Willard Price novels (called 'The Adventure series' because all titles were 'Undersea Adventure, African Adventure, Antarctic Adventure etc) involding Hal and Roger Hunt, two brothers also (thanks Google)

Asterix novels (ha) read all of them.

There was also an Enid Blyton novel with just four main characters (not the famous five or secret seven), but I can't remember the name of it. It wasn't Fabulous Four because every Google hit is the Beatles. Perhaps it was the Adventurous Four as Wikipedia suggests, but that doesn't ring any bells.

Kiwicraig said...

Hey Vanda,

Similar to Dave B I remember starting with the Hardy Boys and also really enjoying both the Asterix series and the Willard Price series as a orimary-schooler/adolescent/pre-teen.

One of the first 'older' books I read was the Hobbit. My mother started reading it to me when I was 8 or 9 or so, and I remember thinking the start was really boring "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit"... and then all this description of the hole...

However, when she went out of the room after the first couple of pages, I picked it up, and ended up reading the whole thing myself...

I graduated from Hardy Boys to Agatha Christie (concentrated on Poirot) around adolescence. There was also this great semi-comic detective series I read at Intermediate - the Agatan Sax series by Nils Olof Franzen. I really enjoyed all of those. Quite fun, while still having mystery.

From Willard Price I moved on to Alistair MacLean (Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone, etc) as an adolescent/young teen. Read all of them. Bit of Desmond Bagley too (those library "if You like xyz author maybe you'll like this list of authors" sheets were always helpful).

For a 7 year old though, can't go wrong with the Hardy Boys and the Hobbit!

Kia kaha

Melinda Szymanik said...

Hope some girl recommendations are ok. How about The Outsiders by SE Hinton. Or The Wizard of Earthsea series by Ursula le Guin or The Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan. There's also The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander starting with The Book of Three. And yes it is The Adveturous Four by Enid Blyton. I still have my copy from the 70's with rrp of 70cents here in NZ.

Vanda Symon said...

Thanks everyone - that gives us plenty of fuel for the fire.

My boys are into the more vintage things - they love Tin Tin, and Asterix, and Eagle Annuals and things with 'Adventure' in the title. Great suggestions, thanks.

Kiwicraig said...

oh, and I remember reading the John Christopher books around that adolescent age as well - the Tripods series were some - but he had plenty more too from memory

Peter Rozovsky said...

"Older," eh?

I'll start with Dr. Seuss and his weird vehicles, creatures, contraptions and rhymes, and then throw in another vote for the Hardy Boys, my introduction to the pleasures of a crime-fiction series. I used to run to the store with my coins and crumpled dollar bills to buy all the books in the series that I could.

I was big on a series of science books called How and Why? also. Mathematics and astronomy were hits with me, so how the heck did I turn into what I am today?
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