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An enjoyable book that can turn any kid (or adult!) into a programming wizard.

An introductory programming guide is structured around a whimsical original fairy tale in a land run on the Ruby programming language.

Weinstein turns his professional programming expertise and his experience as a computing educator designing curriculum for Codeacademy to creating an accessible introduction to coding for kids. The first chapter gives instructions on downloading and installing Ruby, as well as when to program “in window” and when to use a text editor. For an optimal experience, readers should read it while at a computer, inputting the suggested code and playing with it alongside the characters. The story stars young Ruby wizards Scarlet and Ruben, who find a king in great distress. After solving his problem, they notice more mishaps in the code that runs the kingdom. Deducing sabotage, they must travel the kingdom reprogramming code to correct errors and apprehend the guilty party. An episodic structure makes the book easy to put down and pick up again (as it’s a lot of information for one sitting), and chapters frequently end with “You Know This!” recaps. Comprehensive backmatter includes further resources, troubleshooting and more. After completing their introduction to Ruby, readers can move onto Nick Morgan’s JavaScript for Kids (2014), which, though it doesn’t present a narrative such as this, is an absolutely phenomenal guide with a crisp design and clear, concise explanations.

An enjoyable book that can turn any kid (or adult!) into a programming wizard. (index) (Nonfiction/fantasy. 10 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59327-566-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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There’s nothing like seeing a tenacious cowgirl wrangle a bronco to buck notions of a weaker sex—so it makes sense that suffrage came to the American West first, 51 years before the 19th Amendment would grant women the right to vote in the rest of the country. Hats off, indeed! Abundant photographs, rodeo programs and primary-source quotations from Wild West pioneers bring this invitingly designed cowgirl chronicle to life, from 19th-century trailblazers who came West in covered wagons to dime-novel outlaws Belle Starr and Calamity Jane to modern-day cowgirls such as 60-year-old Cowgirl Hall of Famer Jan Youren (who still rides bareback in rodeos) and Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who grew up on a Texas ranch. The straight-shooting if not rip-snorting reportage is at its best when contextualizing the cowgirl in America’s social history and less effective when it, as it often does, devolves into a dizzying litany of names and nicknames. Still, there’s plenty of rich fodder here for equestriennes and those interested in Western or women’s history. (bibliography, sources and photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-617-73738-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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