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I would have loved this book growing up...

  • Apr 25, 2011

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.

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... :)

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I would have loved this book growing up...

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Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #43
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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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 King's books are popular with middle school readers, a notoriously tough audience....The Big Book of Spy Stuffcontains a lot of interesting facts and snappy stories mixed in with the silliness.
--The Oregonian

Bart King is the master of humor, and "Spy Stuff" is a wonderful book to be enjoyed by all. You can get it as an e-book, but this is one you definitely want to hold in your hands. LOVED IT!
--Tina Nichols Coury

This lightly illustrated, tongue-in-cheek guide to espionage (part of the Big Book series) explores a broad swathe of spy-related topics--everything from eavesdropping and code breaking to cyber-warfare and spreading misinformation--while referring to historical (and recent) spies and spy operations. King includes topics like assassination, but keeps the tone light ("Some villains are so mean, their assassination seems only fair"). Amusing anecdotes, such as when Madeleine Albright wore a bright bug pin for a meeting with the Russians (to inform them that she knew of the bugs they'd placed in State Department offices), should entertain while giving readers a sense of how espionage works in the real world. Ages 8-up.

(Publishers Weekly)
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ISBN-10: 9781423618744
ISBN-13: 978-1423618744
Author: Bart King
Genre: Children's Books
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
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