The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

The acme of British science-fiction humor.





What parents need to know


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.


Much humorous innuendo along the lines of "Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six," and "the Best Bang since the Big One."


A couple of four-letter expletives.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many humorous references to drinking and drunkenness.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite the dry, rather snide, humor, the author raises many issues, including materialism, the nature of existence, the role of bureaucracy, and lots more.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Just before the Earth is demolished to make room for a new hyperspace bypass, very ordinary Earthman Arthur Dent is taken offworld by his friend, Ford Prefect. Ford, it turns out, comes "from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse," and is "a roving researcher for that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." They hitch a ride on one of the Vogon constructor ships that demolished the earth, are ejected into space, and picked up by The Heart of Gold, a new spaceship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, which has just been stolen by two-headed, three-armed Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. They journey with him 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 question to the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything. Get it?

Is it any good?


Originally written for adults, this has become very popular with bright middle-schoolers and high-schoolers who enjoy the snarky British humor. Some passages will go right over the heads of many readers, but for those who get it this pioneering classic introduction to the genre of British sci-fi humor can become an obsession, leading to Terry Pratchett, Monty Python, and others. The cliffhanger ending will drive them crazy, of course, but fortunately the whole series is available, so they can quickly satisfy their need to continue.

Despite the drinking and innuendo, many parents like to see their kids enjoying this because the humor is intellectual and verbal, rather than the usual American pratfalls and potty jokes. Many lines have become catch phrases to the initiated, a quick way to find those of like mind and interests: saying "42!", "Life, don't talk to me about life," or Don't panic!" to a roomful of young adolescents is one way to sort them out quickly.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the many issues tackled here. What does this book say about the nature of existence? Do you agree?

Book details

Author:Douglas Adams
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Del Rey
Publication date:February 6, 2005
Number of pages:320

This review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byMissBlackShadow February 14, 2010

Perfection. Just hilarious perfection.

To put it in a nutshell, they are the funniest books ever written, period. When I first got these, I couldn't read them in a public place in fear of laughing uncontrollably and making a spectacle of myself. I adore these books, they're the type I can read over and over again without the jokes seeming old. It's not just any humour, it's Douglas Adams humour, which has the type intelligent, nerdy , geeky, random, quotable, and just generally perfect humour I adore. Although it seems light and fluffy, if you squint it does raise some philosophical questions. If anyone is considering buying them, do. You won't regret it. You'll never look at a towel, a cup of tea, the number 42 or a sofa without giggling to yourself again.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old May 10, 2011

This Book is Freaking Awesome!!!!!

This is one of the best books ever. My dad reccomended this to me, and it is awesome. My friends and I constantly quote parts of this series. It is really really funny and intellectual. If you don't find this book funny, you must be a manically depressed robot. The only reason I rated this as iffy is that it is really intellectual and some kids might not understand all of the humor. You can instantly make tons of friends by saying 42 or "Life, don't talk to me about life" or "Brain the size of a planet..." or "What are you supposed to do with a manically depressed robot? What are you supposed to do if you are a manically depressed robot." I honestly think that this should be required reading for every country whose language you can buy Hitchhiker's Guide in. By the way, the other books in the series are "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" "Life, the Universe, and Everything" and "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" " BTW what makes this all the funnier is that I'm British.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byBinrat October 21, 2010
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages


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