Kids can touch: a child's guide to the Apple II Plus computer. (book reviews) Stephen Gray.
Kids Can Touch: A Child's Guide to the Apple II Plus Computer
According to the letter accompanying this book, "Children take computers for granted, but computers are often threatening to adults. They think they need to be match experts to work them, or they fear they might cause destruction. Neither of which is true. However, these myths need to be exploded.' This book, "to be used with the Apple II Plus and written for 10 year olds, meets the needs of both audiences,' and is a "lively self-teaching guide with whimsical illustrations,' the letter continues.
The seven chapters are titled: It's for Kids (parts of the computer, how to turn it on, booting a disk, simple commands, etc.), Your Name's The Game (loops, PRINT, GOTO, RUN, LIST, NEW), More Programming (disks, SPEED, HOME, FLASH, NORMAL, INVERSE, strings, GOTO, GOSUB, INPUT, SAVE, LOAD), Starting a Conversation (IF/THEN, spacing, FOR/NEXT, DATA/READ, bugs), The Bog Switch (microchips, binary numbers, (languages), Why Computers? (brief history), and Computers Have Come and Are Here to Stay (effects of computers).
Meant to be used along with an Apple II Plus computer, this book, although fairly well written, is for an audience somewhere between young children and adults. Adults will be bored with the "See Spot run' writing, such as "There is a MONITOR. It is a viewing screen, or an actual television, which allows the computer to talk to us.' On the other hand, the average fifth-grader may be put off by the vocabulary, by the long sentences, by page after page of solid text, all in dot-matrix print with short extenders and thus not easy to read, and all right-justified, which means a lot of extra spaces in each line, making it even harder to read. The delightful illustrations are the best part of this book.
The book should be OK for brighter kids, or for adults intimidated by more complex texts. However, it would have been much better had the author worked in conjunction with a schoolteacher, tailoring the book to the average ten-year-old.
Review Grade: B