A board book for the toddlers of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.
As with Baby Loves Quarks! (2016) and its series companions, Spiro attempts to explain a topic too complex and abstract for toddlers. The bright-eyed brown-skinned cartoon child on the cover is inviting enough. But it’s hard to imagine the real baby who will be able to follow her example: “Baby takes three steps to the right, three steps forward, and three steps to the left.” The text can tell readers that “This pattern of steps is called an algorithm” when repeated every time the child wants to go to the toy box, but that does not mean babies can understand, much less replicate, the behavior of a computer program. As with many tech-oriented toys designed for gifted tots, a toy train is used to illustrate coding. Later pictures show other machines that rely on unseen computer code to function. There is nothing factually wrong here. And yes, parents and caregivers can follow the book’s example by inserting the language of science and coding in conversation. But 20 pages of oversimplified explanations of theoretical concepts, no matter how attractively packaged, will not translate to understanding until the child is past the concrete-operations stage of development—and even gifted toddlers just aren’t there yet.
Leave this developmentally inappropriate title on the shelf. (Board book. 1-3)