Pet talk. (book reviews) Stephen Gray.
This book for beginning users of the Commodore Pet computer was developed for third grade and up. According to the accompanying letter, "Teachers and older teenagers who would like to learn about beginning programming for computers will enjoy sailing through this non-technical tutor in 3-4 hours. Students age 7 or more can (without a teacher) sit down with a computer for the first time, and, using Pet Talk, immediately begin to operate, experiment, and, learn from this self-teaching book.'
The book is completely handwritten, with large block lettering. Each page covers a different topic. The first page starts by telling how to turn on the Pet, "Turn me on by pressing the switch on my back. I have a Flashing White Square that's like a magic crayon. It's called a CURSOR.' The page goes on to ask the reader to look for the up/down CRSR and SHIFT keys, to press them and see what happens.
Subsequent pages introduce the various command keys. By page 9, the reader learns how to type in a short PRINT line, which is expanded upon in the following page. He then learns how to use LIST, and the comma and semicolon for spacing. By page 15 he writes a second program, using INPUT, and learns the use of N$, which isn't called a string (or anything else) in the book.
Later pages introduce GOTO, the four math functions, REM, IF/THEN, END, and the beginning of string manipulation, with LEFT$, RIGHT$, MID$ and LEN, and then TAB and a short program that displays a sinewave using TAB.
Page 11 reviews the material up to that point, pages 28-30 review later material, and pages 31-32 offer a test, with blanks to be filled in.
This is just about the easiest way to learn elementary Pet Basic, and although there are a couple of places where the writing is somewhat strained (as in "You can even type line numbers in that are out of order . . ..'), they are minor items in a very well written text that can be recommended for children in the third and fourth grades, or for anybody who wants a simple and easy introduction to Pet Basic.
Review Grade: B