La Guia Del Espia

Book Review



Usborne La Guia Del  Espia (Usborne Spy's Guide)


Judy Hindley et al


EDC  Publishing, Tulsa, OK


0-7460-3888-7 (Spanish)  0-7460-3680-9 (English)

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

May, 2001



Available in both Spanish and English, the Usborne Spy's Guide (La Guia Del Espia) opens the door of imagination for children to  enter the world of international intrigue and spying. Both versions are short paperback format books designed for children of late primary school age.

Get more information at Amazon.comOne  would expect a book of this type to cover secret codes and invisible writing  and this guide covers both extensively. It goes far beyond the basics of both with pages of examples and illustrations of various methods to encode and conceal documents. It also includes sections on disguises, how and where to hide, secret communications using non-written methods, and other deceptions to keep the opponent from discovering what is happening.

Placed at strategic points in the book are spy puzzles for the young reader to solve. These include finding the spies with bad disguises at a dinner party, determining which spy is a double agent, and decoding practice. The answers for each puzzle are shown at the back of the guide. The sections  on disguises are also interesting, with suggestions on the types of clothing  to collect and use, how to make yourself look older or younger, special effects such as wounds, and quick emergency disguises. These pages give instructions on what to borrow from mom and dad to make some of the items, how to prepare for a "mission", and step-by-step instructions for dressing and make-up.

The guide is extensively and colorfully illustrated. Pictures that demonstrate each technique are included, and there are special boxes that include information such as animal and human footprint types and various secret codes and ciphers. The characters used to demonstrate spying techniques are drawn in a comic book style format that is attractive to children.

Several games are suggested for youngsters to practice and perfect spying skills alone and in groups. These include hiding and seeking style games, coding and decoding, and taking turns spying on each other in disguise.

For any child that ever dreamed of being a spy, this guide is just the ticket to get going. A number of clever deceptions are clearly explained,  along with secret codes and writing, and the activities that are suggested provide  hours of fun play at the spying game.

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