No Starch Press sent me a copy of their Super Scratch Programming Adventure! book for review on my geek dad blog. It’s a book about the Scratch educational programming language. Scratch, which is a graphical programming language developed by MIT’s Media Lab, helps children create interactive games, stories, music, and art by combining blocks of code. It’s a great learning language because kids don’t have to deal with the cryptic syntaxes found in most programming languages. The programming language is used by millions of first-time programmers worldwide.
Super Scratch Programming Adventure!, like the programming language, is very kid friendly and will appeal to kids ages eight and up. In fact, my two oldest children (ages 12 and 9) fought over the book when they saw it on my desk. And the funny thing is, they have never programmed or wanted to before. But now they both want to learn how to program with Scratch.
I’m not a kid, but I like the book too. It features colorful illustrations, useful screenshots, and easy to follow instructions. Super Scratch Programming Adventure! also includes a fun story in the form of a graphics novel. There’s a short episode at the beginning of each chapter. Each cartoon story ties in with the focus of the chapter. BTW, each chapter covers an arcade-inspired videogame that kids can create and play in a single afternoon.
I think most kids will love the storyline incorporated in the book. The story arc makes the assignments more interesting because kids get to help the characters in the story. BTW, the two main characters of the story are Mitch and Scratchy. Mitch is a computer science student, and Scratchy is a cat who lives in cyberspace. Other characters include the Cosmic Defenders (Gobo, Fabu, and Pete), the Dark Wizard, and the Dark Minions.
To get the most out of the book, you’ll need to download and install Scratch on your computer. Scratch supports Windows, Mac and Linux computers. You should also download the Scratch project files for the book.
The 160-page book is available now. It has a list price of $24.95, but you can currently purchase Super Scratch Programming Adventure! on Amazon for $13.40 (good deal!).