Alvin's secret code

The warm, tingly feeling that had been smack in the middle of Alvin Fernald’s stomach ever since Miss Peppersmith had closed and neatly lined up her books that Friday afternoon, had grown bigger as he and Shoie walked home from school. Now, here, in his hand, was the reason why! Alvin’s “sixth sense,” which clearly indicates that the crumpled note holds an unmistakably coded message, is about to catapult two seventh grade secret-agents-turned-cryptographers (plus Alvin’s younger sister Daphne,“the Pest”) into the intricacies of authentic code detection and the dangers of a newly stirred-up 100-year-old mystery. Even Alvin’s “Magnificent Brain” is nearly put on overload before the bang-up solution to the code and the mystery carry the three agents to an ending that is satisfying to all…well, to almost all. This reprint of a classic favorite includes Alvin’s own notes on cryptography in an appendix at the back.

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By David (Salt Lake City, UT) · ★★★★★ · February 14, 2014
By far, this was my favorite book as a youth. I read this about 1977 or 1978. Dad, who worked at NSA at the time, then had me read The Codebreakers by David Kahn. Forever hooked on cryptic communications. ...more
By Eliza (The United States) · ★★★★★ · September 21, 2014
I wore this book out as a kid. ( copy has a sticker from a used bookstore that proclaims it cost my mom 14 cents. Now I feel old.) It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember being completely fascinated by code-breaking--especially with deciphering product bar codes. Not sure if... ...more
By Seth (Phoenix, AZ) · ★★★☆☆ · February 18, 2012
This is one of the books from my childhood that created a strong enough impression on me that I still remember it to this day. Codes and ciphers always had an aura of mystique about them--spies used them, and spies were cool, so when we used them, we were cool too! This book provided the foundati... ...more
By Christina (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · April 11, 2014
A childhood favorite revisited. Sexist by today's standards, but it was great to see it again. ...more
By Todd (Portland, OR) · ★★★★☆ · October 23, 2014
A real fun book - my children's favorite of the Alvin Fernald stories. ...more
By Jim (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★★ · March 07, 2008
The best Alvin Fernald adventure evar. Alvin uses his code-breaking techniques to solve a mystery from his home town's murky past. Along the way he gets lots of code and cipher breaking tips from various sources, which will be of great interest if you are a teenage kid intensely interested in cod... ...more
By Joe (Dublin, CA) · ★★★★★ · June 28, 2013
Read this out of nostalgia after my kid had a project where she asked me what I had read as a kid. As good as I remember, adjusting for the fact that I'm not nine any more. I thought it would be too dated to be relevant, and it is a bit out of time, but still enjoyable. I'd be comfortable recomme... ...more
By Seth (Palo Alto, CA) · ★★★★★ · February 07, 2010
One of my favorite books as a kid. I liked the whole Alvin series but this was my favorite. Great introduction to codes and ciphers wrapped up in an entertaining story. As I recall, it had an appendix with more information about codes and stuff. Great fun. ...more
By Emu (Brooklyn, NY) · ★★★★☆ · July 28, 2011
I read this when I was a kid and I still remember parts of it vividly. Very clear explanations of various types and styles of codes woven into the plot. Just pretty damn awesome when you're a puzzle-minded kid. ...more
By Poslfit (Ottawa, ON, Canada) · ★★★★★ · January 12, 2010
My favourite book from about age 5 to age 12. ...more