Kids Book Review: The Big Book of Spy Stuff

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big_book_spy_stuff_book_review_The Big Book of Spy Stuff
Gibb Smitth/Raincoast Books
Age 8-12
304 pages
written by Bat King and illustrated by Russell Miller

Synopsis from Raincoast Books:

From chaos to counter-intelligence, secret messages to gadgets and every other spy thing in between, the Big Book of Spy Stuff opens the “top secret” file on the world of sabotage and espionage with humor and amazement. Kids will discover what lies beyond the sunglasses and disguises of some famous and not-so-famous sneaks. They might even tap into their own undercover alter ego.

Secret missions. Hidden messages. Cool gadgets. Spies are a fascination for kids of all ages. Even Disney is getting on board the spy train with their espionage themed movie Cars 2. The Big Book of Spy Stuff is a great tool for the spy enthusiast in your home.

The book is written like a top secret manual from an undercover spy who is giving you his secrets. There’s a lot of tongue-in-check humour throughout the book. Starting from the first page we are told the book has a built-in eye scan to determine if we have clearance to continuing reading.

Although the work of spies is interesting to kids, talking about it could be very dry, spoiling the secrets and mystic. Bart King does a great job combining facts all within a story-like setting. My 7 year old son really liked the true spy tricks: using a strip of tape to monitor if someone’s been in your room, small balls of clay under your rug to see if someone walked through the space, how and when to use plausible denial. I can see the wheels turning in my son’s head, plotting his next mission and and how to ensnare his sisters.

The book does read like a story but we ended up picking topics of interest from the table of contents and reading just those sections. Jumping from section to section didn’t affect the experience with the book, though sometimes there were references back to sections we had not read (we just jumped back and read them). I can see this book getting well worn by all my kids as their interest in secrets and spies changes and grows.

You can add a copy of The Big Book of Spy Stuff to your personal library by visiting your local bookstore or from Raincoast Books. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations. What are you reading with your kids?

I have to thank Crystal at Raincoast Books for my review copy.

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