Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Review - The Universe Ate My Homework

The Universe Ate My Homework

by David Zeltser
illustrated by Ayesha L. Rubio
Date: 2018
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Abby hates doing homework. In fact, she'll do just about anything to get out of it. So when she discovers an amazing scientific recipe for creating a parallel universe where she'll never have to do homework again, she's ready to jump right in. There's just one small wrinkle--she might not be able to find a way back.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

There's artistic licence... and then there's this. The author states that the story is made up, but that the science isn't. That's not entirely true. If physics worked the way this book shows, we'd be up to our ears in mini black holes thanks to all the kids who don't want to do their homework.

Abby doesn't want to do her homework. So she stalls. When her physicist father tells her about mini black holes and baby universes, she thinks she's found the perfect solution to her homework dilemma. Make a black hole, send the homework through. Sounds good, right? She accomplishes this by squeezing her crumpled homework in her hands to smash the atoms together. And then... well, "science", apparently.

The author's note at the end doesn't do a good enough job of telling kids that this isn't how black holes actually work, and I fear that some kids might end up crumpling their homework for no good reason. It's all fine and good to have fantasy elements in a fictional story. But you'd better explain these things to your readers! (Also, we never do find out what became of Abby's universe. Presumably, it's still floating in the middle of her dad's study.)

The illustrations are kind of cute. I felt like the text was a little tell-y and not quite show-y enough, though.

Overall, I'd give this one a pass. It's not rooted in real science enough to appeal to budding physicists, and could give the wrong idea to others.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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