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Review:Mr. Bunny's Big Cup o' Java
Posted by Hemos on Wed May 12, '99 09:24 AM
A more light-hearted book review, stern has review Carlton Egremont III's latest Mr.Bunny book. This was the only book series that made ASP reading enjoyable. At all. Click below for the review.

REVIEW: Mr. Bunny's Big Cup o' Java
Carlton Egremont III
Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Mr. Bunny teaches Farmer Jake about Java. Kind of.
Rating: 6/10

Stern is the president of
Needed: U.S. college students who want to make a few bucks. E-mail me.

The Scenario

Mr. Bunny is a rodent wise in the ways of programming. Farmer Jake is an agricultural rube who joins Mr. Bunny on a quest through the bowels of their computer, hoping to learn about Java. He fails. So will you, if you are foolish enough to buy this book as a learning device.

However, if you buy the book as a satirical take on other programming instruction books, then you may very well be delighted. In layout and tone, Mr. Bunny's Big Cup of Java resembles nothing so much as the cheesy "Learn BASIC" books of the 1970s. You know the ones -- little anthropomorphic VT100 terminals running around and making sour faces when fed syntax errors. Mr. Bunny has the same feel of these books, with a 1970s-like quest motif, cheesy 1970s-like drawings, and ASCII art to boot.

Of course, object oriented programming was not an issue for most people in the 1970s, and many jokes are rooted solidly in the current day. For example, in chapter 5, our heros are attacked by an evil force opposed to platform independence.

Mr. Bunny examined the unexploded shell. "It's a court order," he said. "They've subpoenaed your email."

That line probably would not have appeared in any "Learn BASIC" textbook.

What's Bad?

The plot of the book, such as it is, adds little. The humor comes from Egremont's imitation of the conventions of a normal Java textbook, with absurd sample code, end of chapter practice problems, and the like. The adventures of Farmer Jake and Mr.Bunny add little, and their efforts often involve twisted systems metaphors which detract from the rest of the book.

What's Good?

The best jokes are those which touch on the shared experiences of programmers, like the following definition:

A Java compiler compiles Java code in to errors and warning messages, and in the process produces class files containing bytecode.

In other words, the book is best where is it most similar to real Java textbooks. Enjoy the following passage, which starts off sounding like standard "Learn Java in 47 Minutes" material, until it veers sharply away.

The JDK is available online and on the CD that was stolen from the back cover of this book before you purchased it. To acquire the latest version of the JDK, use your web browser to begin the download process, then hitchhike to Sun Microsystems and ask them for a CD. When you return home you'll be ready to cancel the download and install the JDK.

Ditto for the following, which probably makes a bit more sense in context, but which is plenty funny even if you don't see any of the surrounding material:

"Implementation details are beyond the scope of the Java virtual machine specification. One should not assume that every virtual machine implementation contains a giant squid."

There are probably two pieces of working code in the book. Also, I liked the bit with the motorcycle gang of deprecated methods.

So What's In It For Me?

It's a lark, and any reasonably competent programmer will be able to follow it, even if he or she doesn't use Java. You can visit Mr. Bunny's web site at for more of a feel of the graphics and tone of the book.

Purchase this book at Amazon.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. This Time It's Java
  3. In the Code Kitchen
  4. Jake and the Beanstalk
  5. Life in the Trenches
  6. For Whom the Troll Bellows
  7. Dissecting the Virtual Machine
  8. Deep Sky APO
  9. Square Bracket Bric-a-brac
  10. The Mayor of Interfaces
  11. Thread Time
  12. Home Sweet Home Page

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    Review:Mr. Bunny's Big Cup o' Java | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 11 comments | Search Discussion
    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
    Re:But did you learn anything...? (Score:1)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, @05:45AM (#1896156)
    Not a word about the first in the series "Mr. Bunny teaches ActiveX."

    Sheer humanity on the reviewers part would have led to a mention of this classic book.

    It taught me everything I wanted to know about Active X.

    I'm looking forward to learning everything I want to know about Java.

      But did you learn anything...? (Score:1)
      by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Wednesday May 12, @04:57AM (#1896158)
      (http://www.freeipods...aspx?referer=8541199 | Last Journal: Thursday September 16, @02:57PM)
      The reviewer seems to write this review from the point of view that it's a humor book, and doesn't talk about whether it actually teaches anything about coding.

      Or is just a humor book? The reviewer never really makes it clear if this is just a humor book or a book to teach Java programming.
        Re:actually... (Score:1)
        by Biff Cool (18858) on Thursday May 13, @10:08AM (#1896159)
        In that case shouldn't it also make mention of the fact that sometimes the warnings are errors and sometimes the errors are warnings? Of course sometimes the entire program is an error and then again somtimes I wonder why I didn't listen to my mothers warnings about the errors of getting into computers...
          It should say... (Score:1)
          by LordStrange (19871) on Wednesday May 12, @05:37AM (#1896160)
          It should say "A Java compiler compiles Java code in to errors and warning messages, and in the process sometimes produces class files containing bytecode.
            Re:actually... (Score:1)
            by Megaweapon (25185) on Wednesday May 12, @07:54AM (#1896161)
            No, you can still get bytecode *and* warnings. Depends on your compile options.
              Java (Score:1)
              by iceygambler (48049) on Thursday May 13, @07:14AM (#1896162)
              The gourmet version is going up,but the average serving is still good to jar the senses.
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