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The Little Universe, episode 2

It's time for episode 2 – hooray! Owing to the long Easter (zombie) weekend, I coped well finishing off this installment. But, as the story moves forward, and little Bep, Steve the rabbit, Goldie the cat and Amy the goldfish discover more about their little Universe, the artwork gets increasingly complex. I often have future visions of myself, around episode 15, up at 4am, trying to sharpen pencils in my ears and erase mistakes with my tongue. Stick with me and we'll get through the tough times together.

While my sanity is still intact, let's enjoy episide 2 after the jump…


In episode 1, we left Bep after having just discovered the little Universe, with an idea of how very tiny it was. Bep is now told that this singularity is 'very heavy and very hot'. 'Heavy' is a tricky word to use. It implies 'weight' when what we really want to imply is 'mass'. Unfortunately (but understandably), the curriculum doesn't introduce the difference between weight and mass until around the age of 11. 'Heavy', however, and the analogy that follows, is sufficient to convey to the young mind that something very small can deceptively carry a lot of stuff.

And that's why we swiftly move on to the analogy of the suitcase. I thought the visually familiar struggle of attempting to pack too much into a suitcase was perfect to convey the conept of compressing matter. The reader is asked to imagine fitting the Universe into a suitcase. Now, to the very young reader, the Universe is more indicitive of the world around them – their bedroom, the trees out their window, the contents of a supermarket – rather than anything significantly broader. But the anaology still holds, because the task of even trying to fit those things into a suitcase is unimaginable and can still generate the amazement of how very 'squashed up' or compressed those things would have to be to fit inside, and how 'heavy' or how much mass it would contain.

Return to the Lab in another 2 weeks for episode 3, where I'll attempt to illustrate the other feature of the singularity – 'hot'.


Laurent is a children's editor and illustrator who lives in London with her two cats and a rabbit. If she wasn't an editor she'd be a paleontologist, and if she wasn't a human she'd be a dinosaur. Her favourite dinosaur is Triceratops. Follow her on Twitter: @mrs_laurent

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  1. This makes my day happier. Can't wait until this is a book I can give my nieces & nephews. 

  2. I don’t have any kids young enough for this book but I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with a plausible reason for buying a copy when it comes out.

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