The fact that There Was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe by the amazing Chris Ferrie and illustrated by Susan Batori might be a little too advanced for a lot of kids is more of a failing of society pushing science as important than the fact that the author is teaching about concepts that most children will have never been introduced to. Even I don’t fully understand the last thing mentioned in this book, and I’m twenty-six years old. And yet, I am over the moon in love with this utterly brilliant children’s book, based on and adapted from the classic children’s book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I was already a fan of Ferrie’s work, having adored his first book Scientist, Scientist, but I think I love this one even more.
There Was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe features, predictably, a black hole that is going around swallowing up all kinds of pieces of our world. From galaxies, to planets, to stars, and finally to something called a quark. I do, personally, think that this story was written backward (it would make far more sense to swallow an atom before a universe), but then it wouldn’t quite have had the ending that it did and frankly I loved the ending too much to see this as a huge issue in the end. So, ultimately, I really don’t have any complaints about this book whatsoever.
The artwork in this book couldn’t be more perfect. It’s just the right amount of goofy and realistic, taking each aspect of science that is introduced and melding it with the humor of the story its based on. It’s colorful enough to be incredibly engaging for kids and even reminds me of a book that I had when I was younger while also matching the realistic color that comes with the fact that a black hole is, in fact, black. And it teaches children about the universe, which in and of itself is the most important part. It mentions atoms and neutrons and quarks (whatever they actually are) and in that it fosters a curiosity in them that is so, so important. I can imagine many kids turning to their parents and asking them what a quark is, and for me if I were a mom that would even help me to learn something new since I currently have very minimal understanding for what a quark actually is.
So, plain and simple, I absolutely adore this book. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read and I am so thrilled to have gotten a chance to do so. There is no question in my mind that I will be recommending this book to everyone I know with children, that I will be buying it as a gift for several of the children that I know, and I cannot wait for all the kids of the world to have a chance at reading such an amazing story about space.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.