If it’s 2018, then the kids must be coding.
This bright and cheery picture book introduces young readers to coding concepts through garden planting and backyard play. Two girls named Adi and Gabi learn about if/then statements through naturally occurring conditions and outcomes, such as: “If the weather is dry, then they water the plants.” Karanja touches lightly on what happens when the computer is not given the right instructions with a Simon Says–like game and progresses to a playful explanation of debugging. Exercises help readers test their understanding, and a glossary explains the computer science terms. While the author’s approach is simple and easy to understand, it seems like an odd choice to start with conditional statements without mentioning more basic concepts such as breaking down big tasks into smaller steps, sequencing instructions, etc. The treatment of conditionals is itself incomplete since “else” statements are never mentioned. And without the scaffolding of a real problem that needs solving, the concepts carry little weight. Adi and her mother are brown-skinned with dark curls, while Gabi has lighter skin and straight hair.
An accessible but somewhat underdeveloped introduction to coding for the younger set. (Picture book. 3-7)