An introduction to programming concepts, framed around the notion of telling computers what to do.
Through questions and answers, this book walks young readers from the ideas of computer languages and input and output to data variables, Boolean logic, and loops. The questions come in pairs, the first straightforward and the second ludicrously silly, providing humor and a chance for an audience response of “No!” For example, the text asks if computers and programs use phones to call or text with users to determine when to run a program, if computers keep track of programs via a “secret diary,” and if computers flip coins to determine whether or not to do something—that question comes with charming art of a computer unplugging itself in response to a coin flip. The lively art—cartoon drawings with a thin line, frequently on graph-paper backgrounds—implies notebook doodles and features ethnic diversity among the depicted children. A superfluous final section, illustrated with photos of diverse children, gives examples of programmed technologies such as televisions, vending machines, cellphones, laptops, and gaming consoles. The text features overly wordy passages and suffers from sentence-to-sentence redundancies. That said, the explanations are all solid, and the computer-logic portions—Boolean, if-else statements, and loops—are demonstrated well through speech-bubble exchanges among characters. A glossary concisely defines terms.
A broad-(key)strokes rather than nuts-and-bolts computer-science introduction. (Nonfiction. 6-9)