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The official spy's handbook

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Cracking and creating codes

Test your observation skills


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About this book

Spies and detectives
The official spy's handbook

  • Everything a good spy needs to know about secret codes, disguises, shadowing and observation skills.
  • This essential guide to spying is packed with useful skills and tips, such as shaking off a trail, scrambling secret messages and creating amazing disguises.
  • Spies in training can use the activity pages to create camouflage headbands, decode messages and spot enemy spies in crowds of people.
  • A brand new edition of a much-loved Usborne classic, sure to entertain and delight a brand new generation of spies.
“I remember reading this when I was a kid in the 80s with my sister and brother. We loved it, LOVED it so much!”
Reader's review by ling

Press Reviews

From cracking secret codes and creating effective disguises to tracking and decoding signals it's a book to be kept close at hand but hidden from the unknown enemy.
Parents in Touch
I love a book that encourages kids to be creative and The Usborne Official Spy’s Handbook is just that!
The London Mummy Blog
Usborne’s vintage Spy’s Handbook (£6.99), now in paperback, is an endless resource for would-be sleuths. You should buy two; one for a child, one for his best friend, so they can swap secret messages.”
London Evening Standard
As someone who had planned on a career in espionage from
the age of nine or so, thanks to the Knowhow Book of Spycraft
and its companion volume, the Official Spy’s Handbook – it is
no exaggeration that, for years on end, these books were my
life – my heart soared as the news that our secret services are
being urged to recruit middle aged mothers.

India Knight, The Sunday Times
Packed with tips and tricks needed to be a super spy, including quizzes to check how much budding Bonds have learnt.
Yours magazine
"Le Carré for ten-year-olds, this book made espionage seem like a perfectly viable profession."
Author David Nicholls in The Saturday Times
My childhood fixation with the art of spying — it hasn’t entirely gone away — was down to a book called The Usborne Spy’s Guidebook.
India Knight, The Sunday Times

Reader Reviews

the usborne spy's guidebook
I remember reading this when I was a kid in the 80s with my sister and brother. We loved it, LOVED it so much! We learnt all the language codes, left secret messages for each other written in lemon juice (invisible ink), and played dress-up with all the suggested disguises. Our copy of the book was passed down from our older cousins, so it was falling apart by the time we were done with it. I'm overjoyed it's still in print! I am definitely buying a new copy for myself, and many more more for my nieces and friends' children too.

ling, 17th March 2011
Amazing book
I read this and the Detective books from Usborne when I was a child and loved it. I loved the pictures drawn by Colin King and how the themes were organized. It's a must-have for any kid and I'll lend mine to my daughter when she comes of age.

Fernando Linhares, 14th June 2008
Spys Guidebook
We bought this book for our 6 year old daughter. She loves reading it with her dad, its great for them to have something special to do together. I pretend to sneak up while they are reading it, to try to spy on what they are doing - she loves it. My husband and I also remember this book from when we were children. We both loved it.

Lorraine Hornsby, 30th January 2008
Spy's Guidebook
My wife bought me a copy of the Spy's Guidebook for Christmas, every page is amazing! This was one of my favourite books from childhood, and I have fond memories of every illustration. Hopefully my kids will spend as many days, weeks and months playing undercover agents as I did! You'll soon find yourself checking out hollow logs for secret messages and viewing anyone in a raincoat, hat and dark glasses with even more suspicion than usual.

Steve Huntley, 8th January 2008

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