See You in the Cosmos – By JACK CHENG

Book Review

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As a reader of this book, it seems to me that this book is a humble tribute to an eminent astronomer Dr. Carl Edward Sagan by the author Jack Cheng.

Dr. Carl Edward Sagan (1934 – 1996) was an American astronomer:

“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” – Carl Sagan

He tried to make science popular. He thought about what life from other planets would be like. He said that people should look for life on other planets. He is world famous for his popular science books and the television series Cosmos, which he co-wrote and presented.

Sagan was associated with the U.S. space program from its inception. From the 1950s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA, where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the Solar System, arranging experiments on many of the expeditions.

Sagan assembled the first physical message that was sent into space: a gold-anodized plaque, attached to the space probe Pioneer 10, launched in 1972. Pioneer 11, also carrying another copy of the plaque, was launched the following year.

He continued to refine his designs; the most elaborate message he helped to develop and assemble was the Voyager Golden Record that was sent out with the Voyager space probes in 1977.

Sagan often challenged the decisions to fund the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station at the expense of further robotic missions. (Source: Wikipedia)  Dr. Caral Sagan’s Scientific Achivements

 

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See You in the Cosmos:-

Author – JACK CHENG

An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017

Published in Great Britain by Puffin Books 2017

Book Review: Alex Petroski is a eleven-year old boy, though he thinks himself to be thirteen-years-old  in responsibility age because he can cook and take care of his dog, whom he has named  after his hero, Dr. Carl Sagan; he plans to launch his rocket—Voyager 3 at the Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival in the desert near Albuquerque, New Mexico, to carry his iPod into space – his Golden iPod with his sound recordings to connect with other life forms out in the universe, and thus this exceptional idea of his initiates his adventure …

So his golden iPod is like a personal diary – with him narrating to record the happenings of the day, his venture to the rocket festival which advances into meeting nice strangers, his trip to Las Vegas and so on … with many other exciting revelations.

 

The simplicity of the language makes the novel a fortunate book for the children between the age-group of 8 to 11 years; the content is very informative and contemporary, though the exceptional presentation of the story does require a little explanation by an adult and at a leisurely pace a child may take a month’s time to finish reading this book.

The pace of this novel is slow for adult readers; considering that this book is particularly meant for young readers and written from a view point of a young child, however the unique presentation of the concept – by which I mean the novel is written like a narration on an audio player is highly commendable, makes it an admirable read for teenagers and adults too.


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Amazon link – See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

GREAT STORIES FOR CHILDREN – By Ruskin Bond

The stories in this book are mostly based on the wonderful sync which humans have with nature for survival …

Ruskin Bond has been writing for over sixty years, and has now over 120 titles in print – novels, collection of short stories, poetry, essays, anthologies and books for children. His first novel, THE Room on the Roof, received the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Award in 1957. He has also received the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.

There are 18 short stories in this book, the last section being a short autobiography of the author.

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Here, I have mentioned the title of 8 stories with excerpts from each story to give you a glimpse of the author’s elegant and easy craft of writing, the stories in this book are mostly based on the wonderful sync which humans have with nature for survival. This book is a delightful read for adults and an exciting read for children between the age-group of 8 to 12 years.

A SPECIAL TREE

     In the cherry tree, bees came to feed on the nectar in the blossoms, and tiny birds pecked at the blossoms and broke them off. But the tree kept blossoming right through the spring and three were always more blossoms than birds. (pg. 7)

 

THE SCHOOL AMONG THE PINES

Fortunately, Bina’s village was not in the pine belt; the fires did not reach it. But Nauti was surrounded by a fire that raged for three days, and the children had to stay away from school.

            And then, towards the end of June, the monsoon rains arrived and there was an end to forest fires. (pg. 33)

 

THE WIND ON HAUNTED HILL

Whoo, whoo,whoo, cried the wind as it swept down from the Himalayan snows …

… There was nearly always a strong wind in these parts. Three children were spreading clothes out to dry on a low stone wall, putting a stone on each piece.

            Eleven-year-old Usha, dark- haired and rose-cheeked, struggled with her grandfather’s long, loose shirt. Her younger brother, Suresh, was doing his best to hold down a bedsheet, while Usha’s friend, Binya, a slightly older girl, helped.  (pg. 41- 42)

 

TIGER MY FRIEND

     For an hour the villagers beat the jungle, shouting, drumming, and trampling the undergrowth.

     The tiger had no rest. Whenever he was able to put some distance between himself and the men, he would sink down in some shady spot to rest; but, within a few minutes, the trampling and drumming would come nearer, and with an angry snarl he would get up again and pad northwards, along the narrowing strip of jungle, towards the bridge across the river. (pg. 75)

 

MONKEY TROUBLE

     There was enough space for Tutu to look out of the bag occasionally, and to be fed with bananas and biscuits, but she could not get her hands through the opening and the canvas was too strong for her to bite her way through.

     Tutu’s efforts to get out only had the effect of making the bag roll about on the floor or occasionally jump into the air – an exhibition that attracted a curious crowd of onlookers at the Dehra and Meerut railway stations. (pg. 83- 84)

 

WHEN THE TREES WALKED

            ‘One day the trees will move again,’ said Grandfather. ‘They’ve been standing still for thousands of years but there was a time when they could walk about like people. Then along came an interfering busybody who cast a spell over them, rooting them to one place. But they’re always trying to move. See how they reach out their arms! And some of them, like the banyan tree with its travelling aerial roots, manage to get quite far.’ (pg. 132)

 

PRET IN THE HOUSE

     He began by hiding Grandmother’s spectacles whenever she took them off.

            ‘I’m sure I put them down on the dressing-table,’ she grumbled.

            A little later they were found balanced precariously on the snout of a wild boar, whose stuffed and mounted head adorned the veranda wall. Being the only boy in the house, I was at first blamed for this prank; but a day or two later, when the spectacles disappeared again only to be discovered dangling from the wires of the parrot’s cage, it was agreed that some other agency was at work. (pg. 143)

 

THE NIGHT THE ROOF BLEW OFF

     Our roof had held fast in many a storm, but the wind that night was really fierce. It came rushing at us with a high-pitched, eerie wail. The old  roof groaned and protested, it took a battering for several hours while the rain lashed against the windows and the lights kept coming and going. (pg.169)


I had purchased this book from Amazon; you too can grab a copy for yourself through this direct Amazon link –  GREAT STORIES FOR CHILDREN – By Ruskin Bond