Who says IT books are dull?

14th April 2000 at 01:00
Chris Drage reports on a love that is only too happy to speak its name...his love of a colourful range of published computer guides.

I admit it. I am a pushover for Usborne books. I love their colourful, friendly and informative style and their combination of humour, facts and downright fun.

Indeed, they are a hit with young readers the world over. But don't let such popular appeal mask the fact that they are meticulously written and edited and well illustrated. If you want simple explanations to questions but find those in the know are just too technical, you need the Usborne Computer Guides, which now run to 17 titles.

It's cradle-to-the-grave with the Usborne Guides. Starting Computers is aimed at six-year-olds and introduces computers using lots of exciting, colourful images. It's an interesting and arresting method of taking those first steps in learning new skills.

Computer Graphics amp; Animation gives clear instructions and illustrated examples to help aspiring computer artists learn how to draw and animate pictures as well as transform photographs. It also reveals the special effects wizardry used to create music videos, cinema and computer games. There are also tips on using graphics software and scanners and details on how to print images once they have been created.

The Internet for Beginners demystifies the Net's jargon and buzzwords by explaining what it is, how it works and what to do when you get on to it. You can find out how to get connected and how to send email, read the news, download files from around the world and explore the World Wide Web.

Build Your Own Website ofers instructions and illustrated examples to guide users through every step of building a website. There are tips on page design and information about programs and computer code as well as advice on costs. The book goes on to elaborate on advanced features such as how to add pictures, sounds and moving images.

The Guide to e-mail explains in a clear and concise manner how this cheap and efficient means of communication works and what equipment you need to use it. You learn how to send and receive emails, organise and customise messages all in a step-by-step process.

Lastly, Homework on your Computer provides a host of tips on ways the home PC can produce quality presentation of homework tasks. As with all these attractive guides, it's the clear instructions and colourful screenshots and illustrations that win the day.

Usborne recognises that self-help and independence are important, so vocabulary is kept simple and information is presented in digestible chunks throughout. Beginners' guides or not, all teachers should get their hands on these; they'll not only be better informed, but may, for once, be ahead of the youngsters. A must for every school library.

Starting Computers

Price: pound;5.99

Computer Graphics amp; Animation Price: pound;7.99

The Internet For Beginners Price: pound;5.99

Build Your Own Website

Price: pound;5.99

Homework On Your Computer

Price: pound;5.99

The Guide To e-mail

Price: pound;6.99

Tel: 01162 547671


Usborne books: star ratings

Suitability for purpose ****.

Ease of use *****.

Value for money *****.

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