Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hello, Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer by Linda Liukas


Grades 1- 3 Liukas combines the picture book format with an activity book to introduce young readers to computers and programming. In the first half, main character Ruby shrinks and enters her dad’s computer to see why the cursor isn’t responding, tumbling into an Alice in Wonderland-esque adventure. In her quest, Ruby encounters bits, logic gates, the CPU and GPU, RAM, ROM, and software; she learns what part each of them play in the operation of the computer, and a little about their nature (the fact that bits “only talk in ones and zeroes”). Illustrations, done in Adobe Photoshop, depict the scenes inside the computer. Backgrounds in the areas Ruby explores resemble circuit boards or rows of binary code. Processors, memory cards and other hardware scurry about on stick legs following CPU’s orders. Activities in the book’s second half  prompt readers to assemble a paper model of a computer, go on a safari to identify computers, and even design their own operating system. An introduction to the characters at the front of the book explains basic functions and a glossary in the back defines useful terms.Sidebars offer advice for parents and educators. VERDICT: A gentle introduction to the world of computers and associated vocabulary. Recommended for elementary libraries, STEM programs, and computer labs.

My review of this book was first printed in the October 2017 issue of School Library Journal, p. 124.

Liukas, Linda. Hello, Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer. 96p. chart. diag. glossary. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250065322.

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