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Customer Reviews

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on June 10, 2012
I want to start off by saying that I appreciate the author's efforts to introduce Scratch to kids. He does a great job of thoroughly going through the Scratch programming environment and talking about all the nuances it contains. It's a great book for anyone who wants to give the most basic introduction to Scratch. I am a teacher myself, and this book contains many of the concepts that I introduce to my students in the first two days of learning.

What I don't like about this book is that it over-emphasizes the animation side of Scratch, while brushing over or entirely omitting all the programming concepts that Scratch introduces. Scratch offers young students the opportunity to make complicated games and applications quickly and easily. For instructors, there are so many opportunities to introduce students to industry-level ideas in programming. However, the book tends toward programming concepts that offer immediate visual response to students, while ignoring many of the applications of more complicated features, like message passing and variables.

Overall, I think that this book is definitely not "for teens", as it targets a much younger age group. The applications from the book target students through immediate visual stimulation, while older students benefit from a more methodical and thorough approach to teaching Scratch that highlights the importance of variables, message passing, and program clarity. While I appreciate the author's efforts to be a definitive guide for introducing Scratch, I believe there are much better resources available for teaching programming. I especially recommend BYOB (Build Your Own Blocks), found at byob.berkeley.edu, which extends Scratch to allow functional programming and custom block creation. They also include a thorough manual that highlights all the important concepts that a programmer should understand.
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on January 30, 2009
If you are interested in Scratch, an MIT open source multimedia authoring product designed for youth. This book covers the basics and works its way through some of the tougher parts of Scratch. I enjoyed reading the book as a teacher and sharing it with my students.

Steve Kessler
Denver DataMan
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on January 8, 2012
I was extremely excited when I found this book on amazon because I have enjoyed using scratch for projects in the past. I am in 6th grade and am an 11 year old girl. This book is surprisingly easy to understand and has many fun applications to create. I have already made a few, including a drawing and a quiz app. I recommend this book for anybody over ten years old, or who can understand the program quite well. At the beginning of the book, it goes over the VERY basics to learning the program, and what blocks do what. If you think you can't learn code just yet, this book is perfect for you. It's fun to draw characters and stages for your game/application, and the author does a really good job with explaining each little detail of the script. Scratch is a very easy but fun program for beginning scratchers. I would also check out the scratch website and you will find lots of examples and galleries about the program.
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on December 5, 2012
Our 9 year old son was thrilled to get this book but was disappointed when he began to read it and discovered it was written several years ago for a prior 1.2.1 version of Scratch. The most current version of Scratch is 1.4 and there are some significant differences in the versions. I don't know how difficult it will be for our son to use the current 1.4 software with a book with old programming examples, but it's disappointing that the book doesn't sync with software that was released more than 3 years ago.
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on December 3, 2010
The book is just what I required. It has a thorough discussion of the theory behind how the various aspects of Scratch work but more importantly has plenty of practical examples that actually show Scratch at work.
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on February 20, 2013
Had I been more on the ball, I would have returned this book, it is really bad. The first and most glaring fault of this book is that it is printed in black and white. This is absurd given how important colors are to Scratch for understanding what palette certain blocks come from. It also makes comparing on-screen code to sample code extremely difficult and slow. Terrible, horrible decision to go cheap on the printing. Also, Jr. Jerry Lee Ford is not a computer scientist nor a professional programmer, rather he's more of an IT guy (nothing wrong with being an IT guy), and a serial book writer. 90 % of his titles are "... for the absolute beginner" thus indicating his lack of depth in any language other than maybe VB.
The book is a very superficial exploration of the most basic of topics in scratch, more like he quickly reviewed the user's guide and found a quick sample to make a chapter out of as he chanced upon the topics. Clearly this man has little to no experience using Scratch, that is clear from his book. There is no more depth to this book than the user's guide and there's much better material on the web.
A much more fun book is Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games. A very CS deep way to learn scratch is using the BJC course available at the berkeley dot edu website, that comes with video tutorials and other materials. Also, instead of scratch, one should use BYOB/Snap!, which is a superset/extension of scratch, the Programming Adventure book is still relevant and useful with BYOB.
I am teaching some elementary school kids classes on programming using the Programming Adventure book and it is useful for kids maybe 3-4th grade and up. For younger kids a more free-form approach is probably better as the book example code becomes quite complex. Probably the BJC course is what I'll end up migrating to but the book will be kept a a fun diversion and introduction to the skills.
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on February 10, 2013
I got this for my grandson for Christmas.....he really loves it! He has always said that he wants to develop computer games when he grows up, so when I saw this I thought it just might be the perfect book for him to try out some game programming.
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on November 29, 2012
The book is just what I required. It has a thorough discussion of the theory behind how the various aspects of Scratch work but more importantly has plenty of practical examples that actually show Scratch at work.
I enjoyed reading this book because it helps me to understand further.
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on October 23, 2012
Use at all ages! I used this book with my 6 year old, and although I did most of the reading, this book explains things clearly and it has good examples that he could understand. Does a great job of introducing all of the basic commands and ideas that Scratch has to offer. This doesn't cover advanced topics or complex programs, but sure serves its purpose.
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on April 11, 2012
We purchased "SCRATCH Programming" as an Easter gift for our 8yr old son. He loves it! He has been involved with Scratch for about 4-5 months. It has really opened new horizons, mathematical, geographic, artistic, social, I could go on. Even though the books cover says "for teens" we think any child that is reading at a 5th grade level and has an interest in computer programming, will find this text very helpful.
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