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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and informative, 8 Dec 2013
By 
Never the Twain (Suffolk, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
This is the best Raspberry Pi book I have seen. It seems designed for a 'young adult' audience and is probably intended to educate, but it manages to do this in such a fun way that 'entertaining' probably describes it best.

The book is structured around a series of 'badges' that readers can collect, with badges for mastering visual programming (scratch) and audio programming (sonic PI) as well as more traditional approaches (Python). there is also a badge for mastering Minecraft (an addictive game in itself) in which you learn to control and build minecraft artefacts, such as a magical diamond transporter, by writing code in python. The badges can be downloaded from the Wiley (publisher) website and printed out for children.

As if all this wasn't enough, the book also contains a series of great projects which can teach you how to control the external 'GPIO' interface and make lights flash and motors turn. The Wiley website has a series of videos that can talk you through these in case the book does not have enough detail.

In summary, if you have a child and are interested in the raspberry Pi then buy this book. If you do not have a child available buy the book anyway.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to computing through the Raspberry Pi, 8 Dec 2013
By 
A. B. (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
This book has been eagerly anticipated by followers of the Raspberry Pi, and like many I was very excited to see it in the flesh. The author (Carrie Anne Philbin) is a well-known figure in the Raspberry Pi and UK education communities, and her book fills an important gap. Despite the fact the Raspberry Pi was created to help children gain an introduction to computer science, there have been very few books published specifically targeted at young people with no prior experience.

The approach of the book is to introduce fun mini-projects or activities while teaching proper computing concepts and principles along the way. Doing this allows children to learn in an engaging and fun way. Most chapters are relatively independent, which offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how children approach the book. The target age range is 11-15 year olds, and the full color illustrations throughout the book are fun but not too childish to alienate kids at the upper end of this. Carrie Anne uses non-threatening, easy to understand language throughout, yet manages to avoid talking down to her audience. Importantly, she manages to introduce and start to explain an impressive number of computing concepts throughout the book

Carrie Anne has done an excellent job of selecting fun and exciting projects. The book starts with activities using Scratch, leading to Python, some activities using GPIO, and culminating in a larger activity to create an MP3 Jukebox using the Pi. It's certainly far from a regurgitation of information available elsewhere. The book leads the reader through the core part of each project, but almost every project is open-ended enough that an interested reader can use what they've learnt to expand it far beyond what is described. Anybody who has tried to plan kids programming activities themselves will recognise how much work it can be to come up with interesting projects and the documentation to go with them, and what a valuable contribution this is. The structure of the book means that no one subject is covered in extreme depth, but Carrie Anne provides plenty of pointers after each project for where to go to learn more if you're interested in continuing your studies.

In conclusion, I'd highly recommend this book to any young person with an interest in the Raspberry Pi or a parent looking to introduce the Pi to their child.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The best Raspberry Pi book for young people we've seen yet", 17 April 2014
By 
Keith_Joseph (West Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
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My kids are now 18 and 17 and like many got their Pi's a few years ago at around 16, but after an initial burst of enthusiasm their Pi's sat languishing in the corner of their rooms. Trouble is they both did ICT GSCE & A Level (which is Microsoft Office and web design) rather than a Computer Science GCSE (which includes Python programming and the Pi), despite their secondary school having beacon status for computing. GSCE's in Computing are only just coming in this academic year (2013-2014) for most schools, so any 11 to 13 year old today will have a much better chance being offered the choice of 'Computing' when choosing their GCSE courses in a few years time. For my kids the Pi came a bit too late as at 15 to 18 they were fully engaged in their GCSEs & A Levels and had little free time to do extra curricular activities like learn to programme the Pi, despite IT being a main subject for their study.

That's where this 244 page paperback book scores: its presentation is easy and more importantly engaging for younger kids from 11 to 15 (and their parents). Some projects do require extra electronics but they are freely available online and not expensive - and with LEDs and the like they add a bit of glamour to the dull but worthy Pi. This book is also ideal for techie parents who can encourage and help younger secondary school kids to learn how to program the Pi, and you could work on the projects together with older Primary school kids. Next year my daughter goes to university to study computing and business studies and she has already been sent a Pi and told how to download Python for programming, so she chose this book to get a feel for using the Pi beforehand (as she's never done any programming despite being proficient at building websites). She found the book interesting, very helpful and easy to follow as would be expected, but more importantly didn't feel she was too old for it. Her and her brother had a busy few weeks in the holidays rediscovering their Pi's and enjoyed buying bespoke cases for them (my retro loving son chose wood and my daughter chose clear Perspex with fret-cut Pi logo) - they may not use the Pi's all the time but do consider the Pi cool. As my son's dyslexic he tends to work with his sister when books are involved (they often take their Pi's to grandma's and play with it on her old telly) - so he wasn't so good at some projects like writing the Pi text based adventure game and he appreciated his sisters help. As well as programming and graphics, the book covers basic electronics as well. For projects 7 to 9 you will need headphones (project 7) and wires, LEDs, resistors and the like, all easily obtainable on-line (projects 8 & 9).

So this book's ideal for pre-year 10 secondary schoolkids and their parents who will have the option of GCSE Computing in the future, but don't overlook it as a simple intro for older kids who have a Pi lying about but have lost the initial enthusiasm and need their interest kick-started again - the final project the 'digital JukeBox' involves extra boards and stuff and is quite challenging in a fun way. Author Carrie Anne is a full-time teacher who's been active on the Government's Computing expert panel which reviews the new Computing curriculum in the UK and she's won Talk Talk's London Digital Hero award. In November 2013 raspberryPi.org describe her book as "hands down the best Raspberry Pi book for young people we've seen yet". So 5*.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ace Adventure, 20 Jan 2014
This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
Hold on to your hats for an exciting adventure with your Raspberry Pi! From setting up the Raspberry Pi to creating a juke box, there's plenty of fun along the way. With Carrie Anne as your expert guide, you feel you're in safe hands, as she strikes the right balance between a journey into new unexplored worlds of computing, and being encouraging and supportive for those taking their first tentative steps into unfamiliar territory.

For me, the highlights of the adventures were creating an adventure game in Scratch, manipulating Minecraft in Python and making music with Sonic Pi. These adventures, together with chapter that makes eye-catching graphics show how versatile and creative computing can be. But the book isn't purely about having fun, Carrie Anne explains what's going on at every stage -- rather than blindly copy-and-pasting a foreign language, you find yourself picking up the lingo and concepts as you go.

With it's bright fresh look, and full colour throughout, the book is attractive and welcoming to all. Though targeted at young people, it's actually a clearly written guide for adults and youngsters alike. I'd recommend it to everyone who's starting out with a Raspberry Pi and looking for fun adventures! In fact, in my view it should be supplied as standard with every new Raspberry Pi!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I bought this! Well worth it if you have kids., 11 Jan 2014
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I bought my son (age 10) this book after we bought him a Raspberry Pi for Christmas, since he is interested in learning to write his own games.
This book has proved to be perfect! It takes you through the setup etc. like many other books do - but the great thing about this book is that the 'adventures' (sort of mini-projects) are aimed at children and are things that my son actually wanted to try.
Within about an hour he (with some help from me) had created an animation with a little character that he could control with the arrow keys, and make it 'go through a portal into a cave'.
My son went from being slightly daunted by his Raspberry Pi, to saying it was his best present ever - and he can't wait to do more adventures from this book.
Worth every penny :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exploration Of Rasberry Pi, 16 April 2014
By 
H. Pierce (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
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This is a book that can be used from the first setup of Raspberry Pi, and then on to explore some projects to give you a taste of exactly what kind of things you can achieve with your Raspberry Pi. Our daughter is much younger than the marketed age group of 11 and up, but we got this book to be used in conjunction with a parent assisting her. At almost six, she is inquisitive about all the work that goes in to the running of a computer, and the RPi seems to have gone down fantastically well.

As we were dealing with a younger child, we skipped straight to the section of the book that explores Scratch, flying past the chapter on Linux administration. This meant that she could get straight into the first part about visual programming, dragging blocks of functionalities together to create an animation or game.

The layout of the book is simple and clear, with really well-presented diagrams to help you on your way. Child or not, you can definitely pick up this book and expect to find some interesting projects to aim for. It does not come across as patronising, and this is crucial if you are an adult who wants to explore the raspberry Pi in more detail too. It is also ideal for beginners as a whole. this is because it doesn't presume that you already have any existing knowledge to hand about the programming and set-up of the Raspberry Pi.

Overall, a really great book that could appeal to quite a widespread audience. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great things out of little acorns..., 8 Mar 2014
By 
Paul Lynch (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is targeted at 11-15 year olds, and at teachers (parents probably qualify). The first couple of chapters cover set up, installing an operating system, basic shell commands, and the standard X Window applications. The author makes an effort to explain basic computer concepts, and refers often to related videos made for the book on the Wiley site.

Further chapters give an introduction to programming in Scratch and Python: the coverage of Scratch was better than most of the other introductory tutorials I have seen. Python is used to explain standard programming concepts, and then used to write scripts to control Minecraft.

There is a chapter on using SonicPi to create music, and two chapters on electronics. The first of these runs the usual LED tutorial, then uses a marshmallow as an input sensor, which should keep most electonics newbies suitably amused. The final chapter is a much more anmbitious project: creating a jukebox driven by the Pi, with a speaker driven by the Pi's audio output, and an LCD display. Basic controls are via buttons, and it is all assembled on a breadboard (so no soldering).

The instructions are at worst very functional, with flashes of brilliance at points. It reads very much as an instruction book for teachers/parents with limited computer skills, which is probably exactly what it was written for.

There are things I can criticise: instructions are given for performing some useful tasks on Windows, but not on Macintosh. The videos are presented via Adobe Flash, which isn't available on the Raspberry Pi, so you have to view them on a different computer. There's a problem with the Midori web browser than can make the navigation bar inaccessible, and Scratch spites and backgrounds sometimes refuse to load. I could go on, but most of these aren't under the control of the author, and she is clearly writing for the UK educational establishment, which is notoriously ignorant of computing.

I am not the target of this book: I've been a programmer for almost forty years, and have used Unix and the Internet for nearly 25 of them. But as far as I can tell, this book can play an important role in getting secondary school children interested in computing (as opposed to just computers). It might even get some teachers able to produce lessons that their pupils will enjoy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple intro's, great pull outs and some really fun projects, 26 Dec 2013
This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
At 37 I'm not really the target audience for "Adventures in Raspberry Pi" and if I'm honest I got the book because I'd been told there was a reference to my blog in it, so confession over, I can honestly say "I loved this book".

The introductions to the Pi and getting started chapters are really informative and pitched at the right level and seem to give the right level of detail including the basics around navigating the Pi's default operating system including using the command line, installing apps and using the desktop.

I liked the way the projects guide you through from creating your first scratch program, programming Minecraft with python and using the GPIO to control electronics and connect to the 'real world'; each project leads on from the next, allowing the reader to achieve something along the way.

Throughout the book there are pull-outs called "Digging into the code", which describe in depth some of the more complex bits of the code, allowing those who are interested to know more but not confusing those who are still learning.

Something else I liked, which doesn't seem to be advertised, is the videos which go alongside the projects in the book, its a really great feature and I think people would find them really helpful.

From my perspective this is the best book out for getting young people started with and getting the most from their raspberry pi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars REad the contents to check it is what you want, 14 May 2014
By 
artemisrhi "artemisrhi" (Forest of Dean) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Generally a good book - see other views for all the positives. Here are several points you may find helpful
* my sons found the badge/rewards rather childish - not a motivation for them
* the sections on Python, Scratch etc don't need a Pi you can do all this on a normal PC (more comfortably too)
* the more interesting sections need extra kit to be bought - and for many people it isn't a space cable or usb hub that you may already have at home. Make sure you have checked your shopping list before you embark on later projects
* website kept trying to makes us buy book
* needed to google to resolve some of our issues - could have done with a little more help on how to troubleshoot
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For any Pi enthusiast of any age, beginner to intermediate, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Paperback)
Very easy to follow and very informative. The style may favour the 'teens' a little but it really is just an excellent introduction and projects text.
Much as with Carrie Anne's website Geek Gurl Diaries, she introduces humour, captures the readers imagination with a genuine enthusiasm and opens up a wide world to everyone.

A clear five stars!
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Adventures in Raspberry Pi
Adventures in Raspberry Pi by Carrie Anne Philbin (Paperback - 6 Dec 2013)
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