A thoroughly inviting primer on coding for little children just encountering the world of computers.



Chiou’s chapter book, brightly illustrated by Song and López, aims to make the basic concepts of computer operation and coding understandable to children.

Kids are instantly fascinated with interactive technology without, of course, having any idea how it works. Here, Chiou (Robot Train's Surprise Birthday Party, 2017) teaches children about the basic sequential logic of using structured requests to get predictable outcomes, in this case “programming” their grown-ups to do simple things like patting them on the head. In a following section, meant for slightly older children, kids are shown clear and playful pictures illustrating the manipulation of images and data on a touch screen. And in the book’s greatest feat (made all the more impressive when you think about how many adults are still in the dark about these same basics despite using them for work and play every day), the final section, illustrated by López, breaks down the ideas and mechanics of computer coding to the simplest conceptual building blocks and makes them fun and universal by linking them to that greatest of all foodstuffs, cookies. The book’s illustrators use large, friendly images and fonts that simulate a child’s first tablet device, and they pair those images with oversized, playful text in order to convey the essentially plastic nature of computer coding: If you understand the fundamentals of how to structure the information that goes into a computer code, you will be able to control what comes out of a computer code. There are a great many free online children’s tutorials covering the same concepts, but this book supplies the carry-it-around tactile element that’s so essential to learning at these young ages—and print books don’t offer endless distractions from their own contents.

A thoroughly inviting primer on coding for little children just encountering the world of computers.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-94400-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: CodeSpeak Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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