Clear, age-appropriate, and durable—the best way to get a young coder started—without screen time.

READ REVIEW

MY FIRST CODING BOOK

Coding principles are gamified with tabs and flaps.

Topic by topic in double-page spreads, this book tackles the fundamental concepts and logic of computer programing, with playful interactions that vary appropriately. The game for “decomposing,” an essential skill, has durable flaps with answers for questions posed about what steps are needed for a task. The “algorithm” spread explains the way computers interpret commands with comical illustrations of what happens when there are missing steps or insufficient detail. A cupcake-making machine with flaps that reveal whether a part in the illustration is functioning or buggy explains “debugging,” and so on. Each interaction suits its given topic remarkably well. An IF- and ELSE-statement explains conditionals with a treasure-hunt flap game that has surprising replayability. In the variables game, the book’s most complicated, readers time themselves counting up objects worth different point values via a spinning wheel and lift a tab to see if they were correct. Throughout, “Code Word” sidebars and other explanations are provided by pixelated humans of all genders and skin tones, and the game art is a bubbly cartoon style.

Clear, age-appropriate, and durable—the best way to get a young coder started—without screen time. (glossary, index) (Informational novelty. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5973-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will...

BUG HOTEL

Bearing the tagline “A lift-the-flap book of discovery,” this board book for older children is meant to inspire garden explorations.

Its inviting house-shaped design with multiple peep-hole windows hints at what children will find inside. The first page explains that “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” The benefits of providing accommodations for six different garden critters are then detailed, one per double-page spread. Information about each creature’s ideal environment and how humans can foster that habitat is behind the largest flap on each spread, which also includes a cutout through which the insect can be seen. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators….” Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reviews the various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden. However, there are no instructions included or even websites to consult to assist readers in actually constructing a bug hotel. Birdhouse, published simultaneously using the same format, is somewhat more successful, possibly because birdhouses are more common.

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will still need help from a caregiver or teacher . (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-766-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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ALSO AN ANIMAL

In rhyming verse, a series of “if…then” statements presents animals and their young while expressing parental love.

Unfortunately, the slight concept is brought down by a number of missteps. The first is poor logic, evident from the opening parent-child animal pair: “If you were a calf, then I’d be a moose.” While it is true that baby moose are called calves, they are hardly the only animals whose young bear that moniker. Even children with very little exposure to the concept will likely know that baby cattle are also called calves, and they may well know that elephant and whale babies are called calves as well. So why, if they were a calf, would their parent necessarily be a moose? Several other examples share this weakness, including chicks (loons), kits (skunks), and pups (bats)—and these are just in the first two double-page spreads. Even when the name for the baby is sufficiently restrictive for the logic to work, stumbling verse often lets readers down: “If you were a cygnet, then I’d be a swan. / I’d teach you to ride on my back, just hop on!” Saylor’s cut-paper–collage illustrations are bright and attractive, depicting smiling but otherwise fairly realistic animal pairs. They replicate a frequent error, however, in representing a wasps’ nest instead of the beehive it’s meant to be (possibly wisely, there is no attempt to depict the “larva” of the verse).

Misses the mark . (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-746-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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