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Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story : Book 1 (The Universe Series) Paperback – February 1, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When returning from the Moon, I experienced directly and emotionally the personal connection to the Universe described by Jennifer Morgan." --Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, author

From the Publisher

Winner of the 2003 Learning Magazine Teacher's Choice Award
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Dawn Pubns; 1 edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584690321
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584690320
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 0.2 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David H Miller on November 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Morgan is a brilliantly eccentric writer.

I read this book with my daughters when they were in kindergarten - I helped with the big words, of course, and with some of the scientific concepts. Morgan's unusual idea of introducing cosmology to young children by treating the origin and development of the universe as an autobiographical tale, narrated in first person by the Universe herself, actually works. The brilliantly colorful illustrations are a great complement to the text, and kids (and, I suspect, most adults) can acquire some serious knowledge while enjoying themselves by going through this book.

Most importantly, the book is startlingly accurate. It is all too tempting for children's authors to cut corners and present over-simplified half-truths when trying to explain serious science to young kids. Morgan avoids that trap.

I have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Stanford, and I looked through the book carefully for any scientific errors.

I found none.

I do wish Morgan had discussed the "inflationary scenario," now generally favored by cosmologists, that suggests that the Big Bang was precipitated out of the frenetic expansion of a much larger super-universe. But, Morgan might reasonably object that the inflationary theory is still speculative, whereas the information she presents in this book is solidly established science.

Some parents might also object that treating the Universe as a person reeks too much of New Age nature-worship pantheism. Such a criticism would be unwarranted - Morgan, after all, knows that the Universe is not actually a human being, and even young readers should be able to see this as simply an engaging storytelling device.
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Format: Hardcover
I'll preface this by saying that i'm an experimental cosmologist (working on weak gravitational lensing to determine galaxy cluster dark matter profiles) and have also worked in high energy particle physics, so i come at this book from a particular angle of having a fairly in-depth background of the subject matter.

Having said this, i want to *strongly applaud* this book, and would like to point out that of the several reviews given above, most are quite positive, and the only two highly negative ones are simply *missing the point* of the book -- it is *not* supposed to give anyone a detailed explanation of cosmology as we understand it scientifically today. there are plenty of other books to do that. rather -- this book is supposed to try to make some sense of what our current picture is in a much more organic, humane, emotional, spiritual, and yea, *cosmic* sense than most of the popular or scientific literature of cosmology out there today does.

For those familiar with Carl Sagan's work, and particularly "Cosmos" from the 1980's -- this is very much done in that vein, and i am pretty sure Carl would have heartily approved.

As a reader might gather from my words, i do *not* fit into the classical stereotype of scientist with a mechanistic, rational, Universe-as-clockwork type view that has been the primary paradigm in science since Cartesian times, but then, neither did Carl, and neither do more and more modern scientists. and Carl's manner of conveying science resonated with the public and inspired them likely more than *any* other modern physical scientist.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't realize what people meant by refering to this book as "New Age" - basically the "Universe" is narrating the story and "dreams" of people and trees and planets. The timeline and discription of big bang and star life cycles is great - but I am uncomfortable with the "wishes" and "dreams" and "feelings" of a universe.

I was looking for an age appropriate book to explain the formation of the universe to my 5 year old - and it has captured his imagination. As an atheist trying to build a good basis of science over superstition, I felt that the narration was over the top, when the science is way cool and didn't need the whole dream/wish/creator overtones.
3 Comments 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I was looking for books to help me explain evolution to my almost 5 year old. I found this series and based on the reviews, decided to get all three. (The third book has all 5 star reviews.) While there is good information buried in the flowery words in this book, it is buried deep. Too deep. This volume is by far the worst of the three. For example, here is a passage from the beginning of the book ( the universe is narrating its beginnings).
"But, I wondered, would I become-
worms with wings,
Foxes with fins,
tulips with toes, or
boulders with brains?"
I was puzzled. What form would I like best? I didn't know. What if I tried and ended up making a big mess? Even though I was just a tiny speck, I wanted to try.
I decided to take the chance and do it. I summoned all my courage and took my first step."

Gag. This book is confusing and extremely tedious to read. I would not recommend it to anyone.
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