54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
A good introductory book,
This review is from: Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners (Paperback)
What do you do if a bright youngster asks you about learning to program? This was a problem I had earlier this summer. There are lots of books out there that introduce languages -- but most of them are aimed at people who are already in the "l337 53kr3t k0d3rz klub".
Hello World! is one of those rare exceptions, a gentle, and humorous introduction to the idea of programming, using Python, a language well suited to filling the niche that BASIC dialects did a generation ago. Even to a crusty and cynical old-timer, like myself, it makes entertaining reading -- not only is the writing style light and engaging, but you can nod sagely and think "Been there, done that" at all the "In the good old days" asides.
Trying out on members of the target audience, it has proven a hit. In its catchy and absorbing manner, it explains the fundamentals (the simple things like variable names being, well, just names) clearly and the exercises concentrate on making fun things happen sooner rather than later. The infectious enthusiasm of the author even managed to hook my non-programmer wife, and get her trying out the examples.
The only reason I'm not giving the book a full 5 stars is that what makes it good as a teaching book, leading the reader in a quick tour of the concepts, rather than plodding through in a slow and structured (and boring) way leaves it not so good as a reference once the reader has worked through it.