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Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing

by Paul B.  Janeczko
Illustrated by Jenna LaReau

Published by Candlewick, 2004
136 pages
ISBN: 0-7636-0971-4

Age 9 and older

Who can resist the prospect of communicating by secret code? Paul Janeczko provides a solid introduction to an impressive array of codes, easing into his subject with explanations of Pig Latin and Morse code. After covering familiar ground, the author moves on to more obscure ciphers, such as Rail Fence and Greek Skytale, to name just a few. Each code and cipher is first placed within its historical context, followed by a clear description of its structure and mechanics. Those eager to use this new knowledge will appreciate the many code and cipher examples included throughout the book, as well as directions on how to solve them (and for those who get stumped, answers are thoughtfully provided in an appendix). Having mastered the basics, aspiring secret agents are offered suggestions for code breaking and concealment techniques. References to the use of codes and ciphers in literature will direct interested readers to stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe. (MVL) 2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center


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