The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy


Book: The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy

Author: Ronald Kidd 

Jacket Illustrator: James Nazz

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0525671602

ISBN-10: 0525671609

Language level: 3

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 10 – 12

Rating: **** 4 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Fantasy

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Kidd, Ronald.  The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy (Published in 1985 by Lodestar Books, an imprint of E. P. Dutton, 2 Park Ave., New York City, NY  10016).  Eleven year old Benjamin (Benjy) Bean is a sixth grader in Mrs. Higgenbottom’s class at Elm St. Elementary School who hates all modern gadgets like hair dryers, telephone answering machines, and especially computers.  Thus, he is dismayed one summer’s day to find a new microcomputer in his favorite second-hand bookstore, Velma’s Volumes.  Worse yet, there’s a “bug” in the store’s computer program, and when Benjamin casually picks up a loose electrical cable, he is sucked into the machine where he finds himself in a chaotic world full of regimented people and living data-animated numbers, letters, and punctuation marks.  Benjy is accused of being a “glitch,” or malfunction, that the computer police must track down in the war between rival factions ROM and RAM.

     With the help of the letter “M” and Professor Babbage, inventor of the mechanical digital computer, Benjamin travels through the Computer Kingdom, experiencing encounters with the police and a dragon, as he seeks to find the true bug in the system so that he can return home.  What is the real glitch?  Can Benjy find it time?  And will he ever get back home?  Aside from a few common euphemisms (e.g., “gee”), the phrase “My God” is used several times as an interjection.  Whether people realize it or not, this is a form of profanity or taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Someone noted, “Published in 1985, this ‘computer adventure’ would count as historical fiction for today’s tech-savvy kids.”  At the same time, this quirky adventure might help some youngsters to understand computers better, see how they can help people find the information they need in an expanding world, and learn to be comfortable seeking out new ways to utilize brain power.

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