Oliver’s Great Big Universe


Oliver admits that he’s easily distracted. Then again, it seems he likes to do things in which he’s interested in. However, when Dr Howard visits his middle school, it seems that Oliver is captivated. Dr Howard is an astrophysicist. What he knows about space sets Oliver on a learning curve wherein he’s determined to fully understand the complexities of space and existence. It means that he plans to write a book, though along the way, he describes what he understands to us. Then again, we’re also party to one of the great changes in life, i.e., moving from elementary school to middle school.

Oliver’s move doesn’t seem to deter his interest. In fact, it seems his new form teach is keen for him to present his learning at the end of year.

So how do life changes connect to space and the universe? Could moving to middle school be rather like entering a black hole? Then again, what about friends, food and all the other things that Oliver has to take on board?

Alongside a fabulous text that holds our interest throughout the book, Jorge Cham includes really engaging graphics. Then again, Oliver is such a winning character. He charms and amuses, and sometimes frustrates us. Finally, we become as engrossed in Oliver’s subject as he does, as he prepares to reveal Oliver’s Great Big Universe.

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Oliver’s Great Big Universe

Jorge Cham

(Simon & Schuster)

It seems that Oliver gets distracted a lot. However, when Dr Howard visits his elementary school class, Oliver is enthralled. Science delights Oliver and astrophysicist Dr Howard is full of information and questions too. It means that Oliver puts his mind to explaining ‘school, space and everything in between’. After all, when Dr Howard visits it’s as Oliver is preparing to leave for Middle School, and that’s a fairly big jump. In fact, Oliver compares it to falling into a black hole.
Then again, Oliver is negotiating the book he feels compelled to create from all he’s learning, alongside this new school life. It’s complicated. In fact, it might even lead to chaos at times.
Alongside science and philosophy, Oliver’s Great Big Universe is an appealing and often very funny, graphic infused novel. Rather like Freestyle, for example, we feel what Oliver is feeling and fear at times for his circumstances. Then again, he’s so likeable, fresh and direct, that we understand that he can hold his own. However, we don’t know if Dr Howard feels that way about him!
Bookwagon recommends Oliver’s Great Big Universe to curious readers, those who delight in non-fiction, those facing change, and readers who enjoy funny stories too. It is a triumph.


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