An ambitious coder’s new best friend




A kids’ guide to coding simple games using CSS and JavaScript.

The multiethnic group of Ruby, Markus, Grace, Rusty, and their cat mascot, Scratch, invites readers to help them as they prepare five different games for a hackathon in which they will compete against their rival, SaberTooth Studios. The types of games are tic-tac-toe (called “noughts and crosses,” to align with the British creator’s website), a snake game, table tennis, an endless-runner game similar to Temple Run, and a side-scrolling platformer (think: Super Mario). Each lesson takes readers through it one game component at a time, ultimately building the code to double-page spreads that display the full code for each game at the end of its chapter. These lessons do a good job of contextualizing and explaining how the code functions as well as showing how much code goes into even the most basic of games. The Get Coding website is also referenced throughout as a resource for the activities and a source for some components of the final game (the shortest chapter of the book). The hackathon storyline, however, feels tacked on and provides little benefit—the premise is repeated a couple of times and then resolves off-page between chapters 4 and 5. The design helps break down explanatory text and walls of code into manageable chunks (though the escalating complexity of code may intimidate some beginners), and the illustrations will be full color. Along with an index, there’s an introduction with an efficient history of computer games.

An ambitious coder’s new best friend . (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1030-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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