Parents' Guide to

Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers?: The Story of Ada Lovelace

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Playful bio of female who pioneered programming in 1800s.

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This delightful and engaging account of a 19th-century female math prodigy keeps readers amused and entertained while it inspires and expands girls' horizons. In Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers?: The Story of Ada Lovelace, author Tanya Lee Stone uses snappy, inventive prose to convey the information. For instance, to tell us Ada was punished, Stone introduces Ada's cat, Madame Puff, who "never, ever made her stand in a dark closet until she promised to behave," as Ada’s mother did. And when her father fled the country, she writes, "owing enormous sums of money, Lord Byron leaped into a gilded coach he hadn't paid for." An informational section at the end, entitled "More to the Story," matches the story's breezy and conversational tone.

Marjorie Priceman's art is equally engaging. She fills the pages with fanciful detail as well as swirling numbers and equations. Her colorful ink-and-gouache paintings are full of fun detail that humanizes Ada. Young Ada's pictured with flyaway, corkscrew curls. While working at her desk, she rests her feet on her sleeping cat. And while maids outfit her in a ball gown, she stands on books and holds one to read.

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