I wish this book had been around when I was a kid devouring everything about stars and planets that I could lay my hands on. The story itself is nothing special, but it's full of fascinating and inspiring information, woven so neatly into the narrative that readers will hardly be aware that they are learning.
Illustrations are scattered liberally throughout the text, in the form of both amusing pen-and-ink sketches and breathtaking photographs of astronomical phenomena. The reach of the book is truly universal, going much further than the familiar tour of the Solar System and even taking in the latest developments in our understanding of black holes. To explain a black hole clearly and comprehensively to primary school children is quite an achievement.
There's no dumbing down of the science - children's curiosity and intellectual development are respected throughout. A brilliant gift for young fans of Doctor Who - there's more than a touch of Tennant geek chic about Eric, the bespectacled, gangly Professor with wild hair and an amazing computer who moves in next door to George and shows him there's more to life than his parents' eco-activism and his pet pig.