Hello Mr Chips cover

Why Did the Computer Cross the Road?

Hello, Mr. Chips! Computer Jokes and Riddles
By Ann Bishop
Published 1982

Submitter: Turns out computer joke books age about as well as any other kind of computer book. The content starts before the title page, with a picture of a computer carved from a literal apple, though I’d be hard pressed to identify it as a carving of a computer if it wasn’t captioned. There’s a nice Red Scare Era joke on page one, and later on a joke about computers driving cars that reads a little differently now that computers are driving cars. Also a joke about humans turning computers on—is that supposed to be literal, or did we put innuendo jokes in books for children 40 years ago? Shockingly, this book circulated as recently as 2016, which is also about when I became responsible for this collection. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed it took that long for this book to come to my attention.

online seduction

Cyber Seduction

Online Seductions
Gwinnell
1998

Before all the dating apps, Facebook, and other social media all sorts of interactions were happening in the early media of AOL, Prodigy, and BBS groups. The author professes to neither be “for” or “against” online matches. She has mostly anecdotes of both successful and not so successful matches.

Online dating is pretty mainstream now, so although her advice is not wrong, it is out of date. Time to let this one go and update with something from this century.

computer nut book

Computers on the cover

The Computer Nut
Byars
1984

I know there are lots of Betsy Byars fans out there.  If Byars is still a hit with the kids, by all means carry on. My gripe is the cover art. It just looks dated. Featuring technology on the cover can usually age books faster than anything else. Take a look at this one. Or how about this book.

Cover art does matter. There is no point having the greatest book if it has a lousy cover. I know someone will tell me not to judge a book by its cover.

Hello Mr. Chips cover

A-Diskette A-Daskette

Hello, Mr. Chips!
Bishop
1982

Submitter: I think this was probably a fantastic middle school book in 1982. What makes it awful now is that my students have never even heard of the terms that make up the punchlines. Also, the illustrations of computers with massive CPUs and pin-feed printers are unrecognizable to our students. My favorite joke requires knowledge of both old pop culture and obsolete technology: “What’s a computer’s favorite Ella Fitzgerald number? A-Diskette, A-Daskette.” I just read it to a group of 8th grade boys and received only blank stares.

disconnected Myspace

Teens in Cyber Space

Disconnected
Parenting Teens in a MySpace World
Clark and Clark
2007

The title alone makes this book weed worthy. However, the idea of this book is still pretty good. The book is written for parents about the realities of an Internet driven world for teens. For 2007, this was an excellent choice for parents looking for a parenting guide for the world that had Internet and social media. I also liked that for a Christian oriented theme, it offers more than “hopes and prayers” or lock up your kids and take away the Internet advice. Non Christian parents would also find this book helpful. Clark published Hurt 2.0 in 2011 and it looks like he is picking up on the themes from this book.