The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
British humor infuses classic, complex space adventure.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 43 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The author plays with language and expectations within the story.

Positive Messages

Be prepared and stay calm during intergalactic emergencies.

Positive Role Models
Violence

A ray gun battle with two deaths: A whale falls out of the sky and is smashed; two people are cast out into space but survive.

Sex

Funny sexual innuendo and commentary. For example, references to "Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six" and "the Best Bang since the Big One."

Language

"S--t," "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several comic references to drinking and drunkenness.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that along with dry, offbeat humor, the Douglas Adams classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a deeply complex space adventure that raises issues of materialism, the nature of existence, the role of bureaucracy, and more. When galactic researcher Ford Prefect rescues Englishman Arthur Dent just as Earth is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic freeway, they start on an absurd adventure to survive. The British humor and references will likely go over the heads of young readers, but there are plenty of silly gags and bizarre escapades to keep readers of all ages entertained. The book was adapted for a 2005 film version.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLanog Muas December 17, 2009

Great for people with a sense of humor!

Warning! This story is filled with British Humor, but there are mice, dolphins, and other sorts of great things in this story. Besides that, narrowly escaping t... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written byRobtheIronguy December 19, 2010

Fantastic Book- 8 year old was too young for it though

Absolutely love the book as an adult; attempted to read to my 8 year old and after 5 nights we had to give up. Some elements are highly entertaining for him, wh... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 19, 2018

Amazing book, but some iffy stuff

This book is a masterpiece. When I first read it, I wanted to read it again and again. It has it all: laughs, charm, and some action too. The best think about... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bywhaleoh4060 March 20, 2011

Some bits not for younger kids

Great book but some mature bits.
There is some infrequent swearing that is not in most kid's books and the sexuality is as well.
Hilarious, though.

What's the story?

Just before the Earth is demolished to make room for a new hyperspace bypass, intergalactic citizen and travel guide researcher Ford Prefect escapes with Englishman Arthur. The offbeat characters in THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY hitch a ride on one of the Vogon constructor ships that demolished Earth but are ejected into space, then picked up by The Heart of Gold ship and two-headed, three-armed Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. They journey with Beeblebox to Magrathea, the planet where, millions of years earlier, the Earth was constructed as part of a giant, organic computer designed to come up with the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything.

Is it any good?

Combining complex musings on life's purpose and society's structure, this witty, entertaining science fiction adventure is great for fans of snarky British humor. Parts of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will go over the heads of younger readers, but this pioneering classic is an introduction to the genre of British sci-fi humor. Despite the drinking and innuendo, the humor is intellectual and verbal rather than based on pratfalls and potty jokes. Still, there's lots of silliness opposite life-threatening moments. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the humor in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an effective way to examine materialism, power, and other issues. Are these topics best discussed seriously, or does humor help provide another way to look at them?

  • What common things and phrases in our society do you think would confuse galactic visitors?

  • How is this kind of humor writing different from other things you're read?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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