Get Coding 2!

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David Whitney (text) and Duncan Beedie (illustrator), Get Coding 2!, Walker Books Australia, October 2018, 224 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781406382495

This non-fiction guide from Walker UK instructs children how to build five interactive computer games using HTML and JavaScript. Games include Noughts and Crosses, Snake and Table Tennis. In the process, readers will learn about loops, ticks and scores, and create graphics and animations to add simple artificial intelligence.

Also included are an introduction to computer games and the history of gaming, and sections on key code skills and how best to use the book. No prior knowledge in HTML and JavaScript is assumed, although it would be an advantage.

Fun “complete the top-secret mission” scenarios help children ease into game-building projects. For each mission, readers join the characters of the Lucky Cat Club to defeat the SabreTooth Studios bad guys. This is achieved by completing specific learning objectives and successfully coding the game.

This book is clearly not just for reading, but to be followed step by step in a hands-on approach using a computer connected to the internet. Anyone needing help can access support on the book’s dedicated website.

I have to confess at this point that I have absolutely no knowledge of coding and did not undertake the projects. Purely from a reader’s perspective, I can say that the information and instructions appeared concise and well set out.

To compensate for my lack of expertise, I consulted my 15-year-old daughter who has done some coding and is a lot closer to the target audience. She described the book as accessible and interesting, with a good mix of description, illustration and explanation about why you have to do things a certain way. Her summary: “an engaging beginner’s guide to coding for children around 9+.”

Reviewed by Julie Murphy

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