My goal in buying this book was to learn to create a custom theme from scratch to gain greater control and avoid the overuse of div and class tags that are common in so many drupal templates, as well as to learn how to build on that theme by adding more pages and customizing them. I am nearly finished with the book but am no closer to that goal than when I started. While I was able to write a page and a half of useful notes concerning other areas, I was disappointed to learn that the book dedicated all of 2 pages to the complex topic of custom theming from scratch (pages 144-145), the vast majority of which covers the issue of nesting HTML inside the PHP as a best practice and a review on creating a css file. I was hoping to find a systematic breakdown and explanation of the page.tpl.php file, not only of the php code (an easy task given that the page.tpl.php is all of 90 lines of code and is largely repetitive) but a demonstration of creating and implementing a new region within the page.tpl.php with any available options for variations described. Since a very general overview of the page.tpl.php file was given on pages 74-78 I was anticipating a further breakdown of this topic deeper into the book. I am not intimately familiar with php syntax but am able to easily grasp the concept if it is explained even to a minimal extent, however, in that section (pages 74-78) large chunks of code are described as to their general purpose and not explained in any depth, such as:
"The following excerpt includes the logo, the site name, and the site slogan. As the statements are all conditional, the output will only be displayed to the site visitors, if the site administrator has enabled the items in the Theme Configuration Manager" (pg 76, Shreves' complete explanation).
For a book dedicated to Drupal theming, it is disappointing that a much better, but outdated (as of this writing) job of covering the topic of breaking down the page.tpl.php file and building a custom theme from scratch is done at [...] at least to an extent that can be copied and pasted by a reader, and "Drupal 7 Themes" should have at least included a link to that page in the book, given the extent to which the book covers the topic itself...
Final verdict: 3 stars for having some useful information that I will probably refer to in the future but failing to delve deep enough into the specific issue of building a custom theme from scratch by modifying the page.tpl.php page, which is what I bought it for even though the name implies that it should have, and minus 1 star for the failure of the support editor to get back to me or to take action when I brought up these issues before the book was even released.