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A Really Short History of Nearly Everything Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1190L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 169 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385738102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738101
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bryson offers a kid-friendly version of his popular-science compendium for adults, A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003), in this illustrated trip through, well, nearly everything. His enthusiasm is apparent right from the foreword, where he proclaims that “there isn’t anything in existence—not a thing—that isn’t amazing and interesting when you look into it.” He proceeds to back up this statement as he whirls through mind-numbing notions such as the creation of the universe and the life-span of an atom with good cheer and accessible, even exciting, writing. The two-page spreads meander their way through the various recesses of science with a combination of explanatory prose, historical anecdotes, wry asides, and illustrations that range from helpful to comical. Absent are source notes to back up Bryson’s many claims (or any other back matter aside from an index, photo credits, and a list of Bryson’s adult books). That isn’t to say he shouldn’t be trusted, but readers should take this for what it is: irreverent and illuminating edutainment, good for the science-phobic and -centric alike. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

Review

"Written with his inimitable style and humour let loose upon who we are, how we got here and the systems that support us which is all beautifully illustrated" Publishing News 20080501 "This history of life, the universe and everything in between is entertaining and Bryson is an excellent guide. Great for the kids and good for parents, too." Sunday Express 20081207 "The incomparable Bill Bryson travels through time to bring bite-sized nuggets of information to the younger readers" Angels and Urchins 20081101 "A great gift and one that will bear dipping into many a time as children discover more about their world and the universe" Eastern Press 20081204 "Lively and enticing" Spectator 20081213 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa. For twenty years he lived in England, where he worked for the Times and the Independent, and wrote for most major British and American publications. His books include travel memoirs (Neither Here Nor There; The Lost Continent; Notes from a Small Island) and books on language (The Mother Tongue; Made in America). His account of his attempts to walk the Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods, was a huge New York Times bestseller. He lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his wife and his four children.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Bryson then gives a short, simple explanation which reads very much like a story would, in a nice flowing manner.
SZAA
Even at my age, 65, there is plenty to learn and this book explains lots of scientific concepts I hadn't understood previously; a great book for adults and kids!
L. S. KING
My book club accidentally put the "really" in the title of the book they meant to choose, the adult version, "A Short History of Nearly Everything."
Donna S. Meredith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For almost half of her 7.5 years, our daughter has gone to sleep as her mother delivers a lecture. Not the kind of lecture that follows bad behavior --- our kid just prefers facts to fiction. And so her mother gives a nightly discourse called "Bore Me to Sleep."

Our child knows that no policeman can enter the apartment and take Daddy's computer without a warrant. She knows about the banking crisis (though she prefers to believe that some financial instruments are called "high-heeled munis" and "credit default flops") why the seasons change, how your digestive system works, what fashion designers do, how everything is made of the same atoms, the movement of a bill through the House and Senate --- she's been exposed to a ton of random information.

She could easily be Bill Bryson's child.

Bryson got interested in how the world worked in the 4th or 5th grade, when an illustration in a textbook --- the Earth, with a wedge removed --- caught his interest. It would be nice to report that the book ignited lifelong learning. But it was a standard-issue textbook, not at all exciting. So it wasn't until he was a famous writer (author of a funny memoir called The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and the even funnier A Walk in the Woods) that he wondered again how the world worked.

A few years and 475 pages later, he produced A Short History of Nearly Everything. My wife devoted a summer to it and read every word. I flunked Science repeatedly in school; it's enough for me to know that some important event occurred 500 million years ago.

Now he's created A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, and he's done me --- and you, and every curious kid burdened by a dull textbook or a brain-dead science teacher --- a huge favor.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By SZAA on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bill Bryson is not an author I've encountered before, though he's definitely one I'll be going back to. A Really Short History of Nearly Everything was originally published for adults back in 2003 and this particular version has just recently been adapted for kids. I didn't read the original, but this adapted version is awesome!

Though he doesn't really give you a short history of everything in the world, he does hit on main scientific points in history, such as what happened to dinosaurs, why the oceans are salty, how heavy the earth is, chain of life, genetics, planets, weather, atoms, asteroids, etc, etc, etc. Bryson then gives a short, simple explanation which reads very much like a story would, in a nice flowing manner. Not boring and scientific at all, which is a definite plus when it comes to non-fiction books for kids.

Filled with illustrations and photographs that accompany facts that are short and to-the-point. This would be a great resource for a classroom, homeschool setting, or library, especially while teaching different units. A great supplemental material.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Donna S. Meredith on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My book club accidentally put the "really" in the title of the book they meant to choose, the adult version, "A Short History of Nearly Everything." I thoroughly enjoyed the young people's version. I learned a lot and re-learned things I'd forgotten from years-ago science classes. Plan to pass this along to my grandson. The book's two-page chapters make it perfect for a quick bedtime lesson or science report.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Snoosh on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read (via audio CD) the adult version of this book and found it interesting. It covers the beginning of the universe and our place in it to how humans got to be as we are, and has some great insights (like in the beginning where they note that we are all collections of atoms that happened to get together to form us, and the same atoms used to be other things and will be other things again). It shows how "science" is as much an art and political and silly as it is "science", stripping away some of the awe without removing the wonder of the discoveries made before "modern technology" and our advantages today. All in all, great for some interesting knowledge and useful perspective.

This version is for younger readers. Our kids (10-15) weren't sure about it when they got it for Christmas, but they are picking at it and getting drawn in and I'm sure will read it cover to cover before long. Other toys are too distracting right now, but they do find it interesting and are reading it as kids do!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Diefendorf on December 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Written for teenagers. There is much interesting information, presented in a balanced manner, about basic science theories and their development. The scientists and their eccentricites are described. All written in an enjoyable manner. The biggest fault is that the associated cartoon drawings appear more appropriate for a forth grader, and the text for an eight grader. Still, I enjoyed it, even though I am a retired scientist.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nico on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Bryson combines great intelligence, expansive knowledge, and a clear, conversational writing style to tell the history of Earth and human civilizations. With wonderful diagrams and illustrations, the book is great for kids and for grown-ups too! One point off for the editors of this edition, who didn't bother translating the book from British to American -- which, considering it's for young readers, was probably not the best choice.
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