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The Big Book of Spy Stuff

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Bart King

My ten-year-old son has read all of King's books several times, a huge compliment to the author . . . He's very picky and won't waste his time on any old book . . . King's humor is spot-on for middle schoolers.  --Metro Parent    Bart … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Bart King
Genre: Children's Books
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
1 review about The Big Book of Spy Stuff

I would have loved this book growing up...

  • Apr 25, 2011
Rating:
+5

I enjoy Bart King's Big Book series.  I can see why kids would like them, and they usually have a few laughs for the adults too.  It doesn't hurt that he's a local author, either.  His latest book, The Big Book of Spy Stuff, follows in the path of the previous Big Books, and may indeed be one of the best ones he's written.  If a kid is interested in espionage and spying, he'll actually learn quite a bit.  Adults might even pick up a few knowledge nuggets along the way, too.

Contents:
Danger Is My Nickname; "Ethical Issues"? What Are Those?; High-Tech Espionage!; Secret Agent Tool Kits & Self-Defense!; Espionage & Communication; Dishonesty - It's the Best Spy Policy; Eavesdropping!; Surveillance; Disguises, Alibis & Covers; Animal Spies; Sneaking, Following & Escaping!; Operation Mincemeat - Based on a False Story; Misinformation; Sabotage & Assassination?; Secret Messages & Code-Breaking; Spymasters; Keeping Secrets Secret!; The Best (and Worst!) Secret Names Ever; Spy-Catching and Lie-Detecting; The Best-Dressed Agents; Famous (& Infamous) Spies; The 12 Types of Spy Screw-Ups; Weird Assignments; Becoming a Pro; Agencies!; Terminology; Selected Bibliography

King writes in a style that would appeal to the 8 - 12 age frame.  The jokes and puns are juvenile (no pun intended... well, maybe a little), but it works here.  Kids will be laughing about assassins on tricycles and hamsters sending blackmail photos (although the idea does sound intriguing).  But along the way, King mixes in real history and information.  For instance, your kids will learn about Operation Mincemeat, a disinformation operation by the Allies in WWII that was a key reason for the success at Normandy.  They'll find out how secret messages used to be sent thousands of years ago (only those with fast-growing hair need apply).  And if they can't make it as a secret agent for the government, they can set their sights on doing the same things for corporations (never too early to plan for a career!)  

On the serious side, the book *does* cover the topic thoroughly at an appropriate age level.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that an adult reader would even learn a few facts or techniques that they didn't know about before.  If you thought you were being followed, would you know how to clear a tail?  Surprisingly, this book covers how to do that.  Granted, if my life depended on it, I'd want more detail ("de-tail"... get it?), but I *would* learn the basics here.  Of course, that does raise the question... do you want your kid to know how to ditch you in a store? :)

I enjoyed The Big Book of Spy Stuff, and I would have loved this book as a kid.  I'm not sure my parents would have wanted me to know some of this stuff, however.  I was sneaky enough on my own... :)

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free
I would have loved this book growing up...

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