jQuery Pocket Reference
by David Flanagan
Published: December 28, 2010
Concise but information-rich: an introduction rather than a reference book.
It seems fitting that for a lightweight library like jQuery, there should be a lightweight manual perched next to your keyboard. And jQuery Pocket Reference does the job perfectly. Its author David Flanagan (of the Java In A Nutshell fame) does a remarkable job of distilling the details into the book's 130 or so pages, while keeping the whole thing readable.
And the paperback's diminutive size has some unseen benefits...
The book's bulk (seriously, that's the wrong word given its size) is primarily about the core DOM traversing and manipulation functionality, plus there are good, concise but information-rich chapters on animation, events and jQuery's Ajax functions.
Later chapters are shorter - just a few pages - dealing with "non-core" functions such as writing jQuery plugins, and the UI extension. While "non-core", though, these are arguably still intrinsic parts of the library, and the UI extension is the reason many people use jQuery at all. With that in mind, a few more pages spent on these subjects would have improved the book.
Of course, deciding what to leave out must have been an agonising aspect of writing this pocket guide, as there's so much in the vibrant, progressive jQuery world to talk about. Those details can be left for the full-size books and the Internet, though. This book excels as a "dip-in" introduction to jQuery.