Surf Sammy's New Computer
by Christina Burkhart
Published by Roof Publishing Company
32 pages, 1998
Buy it online
Surfing for Smurfs
Reviewed by Linda L. Richards
We don't review computer books at January Magazine. Ever. Except this time. We're making an exception for Surf Sammy's New Computer because it's aimed at a pretty special audience.
First of all, it's pure fun. And it's for kids. And, also, in a couple of ways, it really isn't a computer book at all.
Surf Sammy is a happy-looking green crocodile. Unless he's an alligator: I've never been very good at telling the two apart. In any case, early in the book Surf Sammy gets a big, yellow package from his Uncle Joe. Sammy and his neighbor Liz guess about the contents of the box, thinking about all of the wonders it might hold.
Then Surf Sammy's neighbor, Liz, walked in with a smile.
"What is in this box with a lot of style?
Are there a bunch of green, orange, and purple socks?
Tell me Surf Sammy, what is in this big box?"
He looked at Liz and said, "I do not know what is in this box.
So I will open it up, but I hope it's not socks."
Of course, we find out before very long that Uncle Joe had sent a computer along for Sammy. And a pretty special one, too, because it can talk and has a name: Mr. Wits.
With bright and colorful illustrations and sometimes belabored rhymes, Surf Sammy's New Computer gently instructs children about what a computer is and what it does. There's even a test at the end.
Later that night, Surf Sammy got ready for bed.
His mother came in and kissed him on the head.
She asked him, "What did you learn today while I was away?"
Can you help Surf Sammy name all of the things he learned today?
The book is the first of what will be a complete line of Surf Sammy Adventures. Upcoming titles include Surf Sammy's & Friends Top Ten Computer Rules, What's Inside Mr. Wits' Computer Case, Mr. Wits Family Reunion and others.
Surf Sammy's New Computer isn't supposed to be an enchanting childhood adventure. The book's goals are stated quite clearly by the publisher. The book is aimed at helping children between the ages of one and five understand what computers can do and how they can begin to use the technology. In a world where computers play an increasingly important role in our lives, this doesn't seem like a bad idea at all. | August 28, 1998