National Geographic KIDS and authors’ Crispin Boyer & Suzanne Zimbler hit the mark with this new title. I was fascinated throughout the 192 pages. The hardback is one of those hard to put down books you’ll be going back to again and again. Each of the 8 chapters covers a different aspect of everything Top Secret:


Full of colorful images along with fascinating insights and reveals, there are also fun secret codes along the way where you learn how to unravel a cipher. It’s a message written using a different order of the alphabet. The book starts out with CRACK THE CODE, a little practice with six common ciphers. I won’t be doing my grocery list this way but kids will have a new way of communicating secrets to their friends.

I started to compile a list of my 5 favorite secrets but stopped after reaching well over 2 dozen. Instead of any spoilers, here’s just a few of the fun reads:

  • America’s Fortress is a secret bunker located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I flashbacked 20 years ago when myself and a group of teachers were granted a tour. It was truly a special day. 350 people work there to keep our country safe and to track Santa Claus each December.
  • Tucked behind Lincoln’s head at Mount Ruhsmore is a secret chamber.
  • Skip over this section if you don’t want to know magician’s secrets. Many of them are explained. Now I know how that lady gets sawed in half.
  • Tools of the Tradecraft include a variety of spy tools. How about the UMBRELLA DART GUN, an ingenius LETTER REMOVER, or the disgusting DOO-DOO TRANSMITTER? Yes, pictures and full details are provided.
  • Full pages devoted to THE SECRET SAUCER, AREA 51, and INSIDE FORT KNOX had me smiling and wanting more.

There is so much to enjoy here for middle grade on up through adults. I’ll end this brief look with a secret code based on the ATBASH CIPHER summarizing my thoughts on TOP SECRET:


I’m sure you are stumped so here’s the decoded version:



(I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.)

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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to TOP SECRET

  1. msyingling says:

    Ooh! I may need this when I begin my new life as a super secret agent. I just need to present myself in my pleated skirt and cardigan at the CIA and they will hire me, ala Mrs. Pollifax, right? Thanks for this fun review.

  2. danielle hammelef says:

    I’m hoping my library has this fun book. Thank you for the review. That tour you took sounds amazing.

  3. This looks like a LOT of fun. Thanks for the heads up. I’m going to find a copy.

  4. This may be for teens, but it sounds like something adults would enjoy. Like you I’ve been the fortress at Colorado Springs– accompanied a civic leader group from the Dayton area. But I always wondered if there was a secret chamber at Mt Rushmore. What a fun review. Will check this one out!

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