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
"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 "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 "The incomparable Bill Bryson travels through time to bring bite-sized nuggets of information to the younger readers" Angels and Urchins "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 "Lively and enticing" Spectator
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.