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Cracking Codes is another book in 'The Knowledge' series written for children aged between 9-14. Various authors write this series and each book tackles a different subject. The fun way in which the books are written allows them to discuss some difficult subjects and theories without them seeming boring or over complicated. In this way the books give children a vast amount of information and knowledge without the children being aware that they are learning so much and more importantly without giving them a brain overload.
Although I have mentioned that these books are primarily written for children I think that they are just as suitable for young adults as the vast amount of information in them is amazing and is told in a concise yet extremely informative way. I am 18 and have really enjoyed reading the books in this series. I found them not only to be informative but also interesting and at times quite intriguing. At one point I even had my dad reading sections of this book and he also found it to be a great read.
Cracking Codes as you can probably guess is a book that presents some extremely interesting information on how to unlock the secret language of spies. The book works through well-known codes such as Morse Code and Semaphore to more complex ones such as the pigpen cipher and Vigenere's Square. Each code or cipher is explained in a way that makes it understandable with most using brilliant example and try it yourself activities to explain the theory and how it all works. On top of this the book also provides some fantastic information on how codes have throughout the years shaped history and how they may go on doing so in the future.
The fact that this book using a lot of explain and gives the reader the option to try there hand at some code breaking and code making makes this book extremely interactive and therefore is certain to keep a child amused for many hours. I myself often found that I was reaching for a piece of paper and a pen to see if I could crack the codes I was presented with and then write a coded response. In my opinion this is what makes this series of books so great for children because it helps children to remember what they have read by practicing the skills they have been 'taught'.
Although I did find this book very interesting from the beginning I did find that the book was a little too long. Now I know that the length of the book, 158 pages, doesn't seem too long but trust me when I say that when every page is filled with a new code or cipher that the book becomes a little dry towards the end. To incorporate all the information I suppose that this cannot be helped but it does mean that the book is probably best read in small chunks over a decent length of time.
Alongside the writing within this book there are also a large number of cartoon style drawings, which are either humorous or help illustrate the points made in the adjoining passage easier to understand. Whatever there purpose the pictures help break-up the text and in this way make it easily manageable for children.
All in all I would highly recommend this book as well as the others in the series. It retails around the £5 mark but it would definitely be worth your while checking online to see if you can find a bargain. The price however is well worth the knowledge that can be gained from this wonderful little read.