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Children's LiteratureWelcome to the world of Microsoft, that mega-giant that is the driving force in the computer world. The company's growth is tracked from its humble beginnings in the mid-1970s when Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote a computer language for Altair. Highlights include the creation of the MS-DOS system, introduction of Microsoft Word followed by Windows (and it many versions), the 1990 sales that topped one billion dollars, and its legal wars with the U.S. Department of Justice. There is brief historical background that introduces readers to mathematicians from Ancient Babylon to Blair Pascal and Gotfried Leibniz (the inventor of binary arithmetic) and early computers that were so large they filled entire rooms. The text is far from dry and moves along briskly, giving a minimum of information to keep the reader engaged. Photos are liberally scattered throughout and the soft buff pages with linear borders give the book a crisp look. As far as basic introductions go, this one fits the bill, although the price is steep for such a slim volume. A glossary, timeline, index, bibliography and Web sites are included. 2004, Smart Apple Media, Ages 10 to 14.
— Beverley Fahey