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BABY CODE! by Sandra Horning


From the Girls Who Code series

by Sandra Horning ; illustrated by Melissa Crowton

Pub Date: July 17th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-399-54257-2
Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Another book that aims to jump-start toddlers’ STEM careers.

Using retro-style art and coding syntax well beyond a toddler’s comprehension, this board book tries to simplify the complex language of code. The pale-skinned girl clad in polka-dot onesies is certainly cute, maybe even gifted, but that doesn’t mean she can understand the principles of coding. The selected real-world examples of coding are valid. Baby telling a dog what to do and code telling computers what to do are parallel constructs. The problem is that babies, no matter how much we want them to, cannot yet comprehend such abstract concepts. Girls (and boys) need real experience with the real world before they can begin to understand command language. The insertion of speech bubbles with “real code” near pictures of computerized toys (“train.go[ ]”) or tools (“repeat 3: phone.ring[ ]”) is simply clutter on the page and will not help babies who are still puzzling out the physical mechanics of the world understand how these devices work. Encouraging young girls to explore technology is certainly a worthy goal, but a board book marketed under the Girls Who Code umbrella will not do the job.

To become coders, babies need to play with sequences, patterns, language, and logic—but not this book.

(Board book. 1-3)