Top critical review
18 people found this helpful
Could have done so much more
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.