Hm. Interesting assignments. I would do them as perl one-liners myself, because I love perl. And btw, if you know, say bash shell, learning perl is NOT THAT HARD. I came from C++ to perl myself, but was amazed at how easy it was. So.... I suggest looking into perl.
The best books available IMHO are the O'Reilly series- do Learning Perl, Perl Cookbook, and Programming Perl, in that order. Very good books. Well written. And if you have any troubles, just post a question.