Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Spyology: The Complete Book of Spycraft* by Spencer Blake, edited by Dugald A. Steer- young readers book review
Also by Dugald Steer:

The Wizardology Handbook: A Course for Apprentices (Ologies)

Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Beasts

Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons
Spyology: The Complete Book of Spycraft
by Spencer Blake, edited by Dugald A. Steer
Ages 9-12 32 pages Candlewick October 2008 Hardcover    

Spyology boasts a large silvery cover, much less mystical or fantastic looking than the other ‘ology books that came before. It seems to offer a more streamlined, professional look into the past and present of the world of spies: “The Complete Book of Spycraft.” To prove its point, the cover is printed with numerous codes, and offers a circular pop-out “magnifying filter decoder” as the first tool to aid attempts to figure out the secrets of the world.

Our top secret mission is laid out in a memo - which must be destroyed after reading, of course. We (Agent K) are to find the information that Agent J was killed for. The classified envelope contains pictures, a postcard from Agent J stating that he’s cracked the case, and a clipping from a local newspaper. Thus begins our adventure as a spy.

The book is what one would expect from an ‘ology volume: envelopes, scrapbook-style information, and chapters dedicated to things such as “Spy Gadgets” and “Codes and Cyphers.” Mini-books here and there add to the overall knowledge, like “Spy Speak,” in which common spy language is explained. “Spy Rules” are doled out and explained. A running log is kept through chapters, keeping our hard-won information about poor Agent J organized. Tips for surveillance, proper gear, and what kind of income one might be able to expect are all covered.

From Berlin to Las Vegas to London, training is completed on the fly while trying to crack the case. Using a variety of tools and disguises, and by watching a number of suspects, we very carefully fit ourselves into any situation we must. To solve the case, we have to actually learn to use the tool, and decode messages, and keep track of every detail. Decide who is to be trusted and who will sell you down the river.

With an entertaining mix of the real history of espionage and a case for us to solve, Spyology definitely lives up to the high expectations set by the other ‘ology books. If only learning all history was this much fun! Will you be able to solve the case of poor Agent J’s disappearance? Will you be bribed? Will you be presumed dead as well?

Here’s hoping you don’t fall to an interrogation, or get tossed into a tiny cell in an unknown prison on the other end of the world. If you following your teachings, pay close attention to details, and master the use of disguises, you might just become a spy who will survive and bring home the information your country needs.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Carolynn Evans/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (