Bill Bryson Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything for Young Readers.

Bill Bryson Review

This book is an abridged version of Bill Bryson's highly readable non-fiction book 'A Really Short History of Nearly Everything.'

The book has been redesigned and formatted for school-age children.

Much of the technical language from the original version has been removed or toned down, but the exciting story of science that Bryson tells so well has been left intact.

So really, the best bits have been left in. The information has been organized into bite size blocks of text with colourful illustration accompanying the words.

A feature I really like is that each chunk of info comes complete with a bold heading that makes a statement such as 'It's a miracle!' or asks a question, 'Who's got the answers?' A great way of prompting interest in the passage to come.

An added bonus is that each page comes with captions of interesting facts and figures, all, of course, wrapped in Bill Bryson's elegant and humorous language.

For example, on page 5, 'We have a universe. It is a wondrous place and beautiful too. And it was all done in about the time it takes to make a sandwich.'

Bill Bryson Review cont...

The scale and the design of the abridged version of this book is roughly that of a science textbook written for school curriculum. But it's as if written by the cleverest and most entertaining professor going around.

One of my favorite passages is the account about the first discovery of a dinosaur bone. It was taken to an eminent doctor, an expert in anatomy, in 1787. 'The bone was sent to Dr Caspar Wister who completely failed to recognize its significance and merely made a few cautious and uninspired remarks to the effect that it was indeed a whopper.'

I love the use of the word 'whopper.' It's totally unexpected. An inspired use of the word. Bryson is a great writer of humorous language. He uses humour to persuasively communicate complex and at times difficult subject matter.

For this reason Bill Bryson's writing style can effectively gain the attention of even the most unmotivated of students.

Bill Bryson Review cont...

The book is organized into 6 main chapters.

Lost in the Cosmos
Examines the Big Bang and the start of everything, and mankind's exploration of our solar system and beyond.

The Size of the Earth
Outlines the history of the numerous science pioneers who discovered gravity, the size and weight of the Earth and the earliest dinosaur fossil hunters.

A New Age Dawns
The twentieth century and the discoveries of Einstein and other giants.

Dangerous Planet
A fascinating and unnerving chapter about super volcanoes such as Yellowstone National Park, and the ever present threat of asteroids.

Life Itself
An absorbing chapter on where the human species originated from and the jouney of discovery of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel.

The Road to Us
Ice ages, climate changes, the rise of man, the tragedy of species extinction and the threat of climate change.

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is suitable for upper primary school aged students, or children in the middle years. Best for ages 10 - 14 yrs.

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