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Customer Review

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide for beginners, 7 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Python Basics, Level 1 (Coding Club) (Coding Club, Level 1) (Spiral-bound)
My son aged 10 has written a couple of small scratch games on the Pi so I bought him (and the rest of the family) the Python Basics book to get him started with formal programming.

The good points: It is very well constructed, both physically and content. I just handed him the book, he read the first bits then we did 'Hello World!' together and he then took off himself. One or two minor niggles:
1. No explaination of modulus. I got him to work out what it meant by trying different numbers till he could spot what was going on.
2. With the default IDLE on the Pi, the division is context sensitive. If you do 111/4 (as suggested), you get an integer answer, not a floating point.

Otherwise it looks really well put together. We haven't got as far as the event driven graphics programming (quite a jump for a novice which may be a bit too much), but we'll see how it goes. So far it is definitely the sort of book I would recommend getting from a library, as once you have gone through it you will be able to move on to a more advanced text. For primary schools and first years in secondary it should be a good 'self learn' text.

The physical construction of a spiral binding means it lays flat on the desk - good thinking. Might be nice for future editions to have more space to put notes in.
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Initial post: 25 Jun 2013 07:04:42 BDT
Chris Roffey says:
Thanks David for your review. I hope your son found the section where a windowed app is produced fun, when he got around to it.

I would just like to address the two niggles you mentioned as several people are finding your review helpful. On page 20 there is an explanation of the modulus operator which says that it can be used to find the remainder. The term is also in bold and so appears in the glossary. (You probably missed this because of your confusion with integer and normal division while your son was using Python 2.7.) One reason the book uses Python 3 and not Python 2.7 is because division works in the form that children are used to on their calculators. I have no control as to how the Raspberry Pi is set up but, helpfully, from the day Python Basics was published, the desktop on the recommended operating system has had shortcuts to both versions of Python: The 'IDLE' icon starts up 2.7 and the 'IDLE 3' icon starts up Python 3. This is the one readers should use and the niggles should disappear. There is now a video showing this on the website (codingclub.co.uk/videos.php)

Best wishes, Chris Roffey (author)
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