Cover image for Top secret : a handbook of codes, ciphers, and secret writing
Title:
Top secret : a handbook of codes, ciphers, and secret writing
Author:
Janeczko, Paul B.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
136 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
A handbook for the budding cryptographer including codes and ciphers, invisible inks, concealment techniques, spy stories and some history.
Language:
English
Contents:
Nonsecret codes -- Book code -- Dictionary code -- Codetalking -- Pig Latin -- Turkish Irish -- Caesar cipher -- St. Cyr slide -- Keyboard cipher -- Morse code -- Semaphore -- Pigpen cipher -- Rosicrucian cipher -- Date shift cipher -- Greek square cipher -- Greek skytale -- Rail fence cipher -- Route transposition cipher -- Codebreaking -- Early concealment techniques -- Null cipher -- Cardano grille -- Word grille -- Space code -- Playing card code -- Dot cipher -- Line cipher -- Zigzag cipher -- Invisible inks -- Codemkers and codebreakers Hall fo Fame.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader/Renaissance Learning MG 4.4 5.

Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.3 3.0 74915.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780763609719
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

History, trivia, and interesting code-breaking tales are compiled in a guide book to the world of secret writing, their deciphers, and the impact such correspondents have had throughout the years.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. Although readers familiar with Janeczko's poetry anthologies may be surprised to see his name on a book about cryptography, the connection between his two passions rapidly comes clear. After all, codes, like poems, allow one to conceal or unveil meaning in satisfyingly elegant ways. Janeczko gives aspiring codemakers and codebreakers everything they need for staging their own information exchanges--terminology; instructions for making simple devices (using index cards and an exacto knife to create Cardano Grilles, a message-concealment tool first used in 1556); concrete advice (assemble a "spy toolkit," using film-canister "vials" to store homemade invisible ink); and plenty of practice activities with answers at the back of the book. Fascinating historical anecdotes keep things lively, as do LaReau's stylish black-and-white illustrations, which show two spies, a male and a female, slinking through the pages as if to the furtive beat of the Pink Panther 0 theme song. A certain category of puzzle-loving kids, especially those whose interest has been whetted by Blue Balliett's code-rich adventure Chasing Vermeer 0 BKL Ap 1 04, will take to this packed-to-the-gills volume like a spy to a cat suit. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Known for his editing of poetry anthologies, Paul B. Janeczko studies another form of often-perplexing writing in Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing, illus. by Jenna LaReau. Janeczko discusses numerous codes that have been used throughout history, from Morse code and semaphore to examples of code usage, such as the "Beale cipher," a still-unsolved mystery regarding the location of treasure supposedly buried in the mid 1800s. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-A wonderful guide to secret writing. Janeczko relates how different codes came to be and why they were needed, and gives some historical examples. The book also contains information and exercises (with answers) on deciphering codes and provides children with the tools to make their own field kit. In addition to numerous codes and ciphers, invisible ink recipes and a number of concealment techniques are included. Humorous black-and-white sketches featuring two figures in sunglasses and trench coats are found throughout the book. The author's upbeat, positive tone is refreshing and his enthusiasm about his topic is contagious. He recommends that readers go to the library to learn more about the subject, and encourages them to use their imaginations and share the fun of secret writing with friends.-Cynde Suite, Bartow County Library System, Adairsville, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

As long as I can remember, I've been interested in codes and ciphers. There are a lot of reasons. For one thing, I've always enjoyed a good puzzle, whether it's a math puzzle or a word game. I've also been a fan of spy novels and movies. I love all that cloak-and-dagger stuff, all those mysterious meetings in exotic places. And I've been something of a history buff, especially interested in how individuals shaped history. All of these interests find their way into any exploration of codes and ciphers. I'm sure you have your own reason for picking up this field guide, but I suspect that you're a lot like me. There is something about codes and ciphers -- how to make them, how to break them, how they changed history -- that fascinates you. Maybe you've dreamed of designing a cipher that is "unbreakable." Or working against time to break a secret code. Or trying to create the perfect invisible ink. If this sounds like you, then this guide is just for you. This book is about making codes and ciphers, not just reading about them. To get the most out of this book, I suggest you create a codemaker's field kit. You might want to think of it as your spy kit, a place where you can store all your tools for codemaking and codebreaking. I suggest you use a shoe box or a plastic storage box. That should give you enough room, at least for starters, to store the cipher tools and codebooks you will make. You can also keep the invisible ink and the pens, toothpicks, and developers that go along with it. By the time you work your way through this book, you will have many things to keep in your field kit. While you don't need a cloak or a dagger for your field kit, I think it's a good idea for you to have a notebook or journal in which you can keep track of some of the things you will create along the way -- things like code names and suitable keywords for a number of different ciphers. The notebook is also the perfect place to work out solutions for intercepted messages and to design the new codes and ciphers you will dream up. But don't just rely on what you read about in this book to decide what to put in your field kit and in your notebook. Be inventive. Use your imagination to think of other things that can help you as a codemaker and codebreaker. One of the ways to get new ideas about codes and ciphers is to read books and stories that show how spies carry out their business. I hope you get some ideas from the stories that are scattered throughout the book. They tell about some of the famous codes, codemakers, and codebreakers in history. At the end of this book, I've suggested some other books that will give you even more information about the world of codes and espionage. Since even a real spy doesn't work alone, making and breaking codes is much more fun if you work with a partner. And it's even more fun if you pick a partner who wants to be inventive. You know the kind of person I mean -- someone who is willing to try something clever to make a good code better. Someone who is willing to take chances or makes guesses to break a code. If you are nuts about codes and ciphers and secret writing, this guide has it all: codes, ciphers, invisible inks, concealment techniques, spy stories, and even a little bit of history (but only the exciting parts). Find a friend and start reading this book and building your codemaker's field kit. The fun has just begun! Excerpted from Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing by Paul B. Janeczko All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.