The Code Busters Club
Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key
by Penny Warner
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 13th 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. may be really different, but they all share one thing in common: they love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much, they have their own private club, with a super-secret hideout and passwords that change every single day.
When Cody and Quinn notice what could be a code on the window of a nearby house, the one owned by their strange neighbor, the guy they call Skeleton Man, the club gets to work. And it is a cry for help!
Now the Code Busters are on the case—and nothing will stop them from solving the mystery and finding the secret treasure that seems to be the cause of it all!
This exciting interactive mystery offers more than fifteen codes for you to decipher, including the Consonant code, Morse code, and American Sign Language. Test your brain with the Code Busters and solve the mystery along with them. Answers are in the back, if you ever get stuck.
For more code-breaking fun, visit CodeBustersClub.com and join the club! Ages 8–12
This is a fun middle grade book. Cody, Quinn, Luke and M.E. love codes and have created the Code Busters Club. They have a secret club house and communicate with each other using different codes, including sign language (which they learned because Cody’s little sister is deaf). Noticing a coded message from a neighbor, calling for help, the Code Busters use coded messages to solve a crime.
I love how this book encourages kids to learn different ways to communicate (it even embraces the language of children today, texting). Mixed in with the story we find codes for the readers to unravel (don’t worry, there is a key at the back of the book) so the story becomes interactive. Kids will easily be able to relate with the characters, and enjoy sharing their adventures by helping crack the codes.
The idea of communicating via code brought back memories for me. Back in High School, a good friend created a code (utilizing small shapes and images in place of the alphabet) and we used it to pass notes back and forth. Our logic was that if we got caught passing notes, our teachers would have no idea what we were saying! (Honestly, we were pretty good kids who had to find our own little ways to rebel. Our notes usually related to pretty tame things like where we were going to meet at lunch or when the next church dance was taking place). It was so much fun to have our own coded means of communication. We got pretty good at both writing and reading it with out our answer keys (which we, much less creatively than the characters in the Code Busters, had written down on 3X5 cards).
If you are looking for a fun book (and soon to be series, the next adventure being alluded to at the end of this book) for your middle grade reader, look no farther than The Code Busters Club.