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Alvin's Secret Code (1963)

by Clifford B. Hicks

Series: Alvin Fernald (2)

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224694,790 (3.65)3
Twelve-year-old Alvin and his best friend Shoie use their knowledge of codes and ciphers to solve a dangerous mystery.

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I recognized this cover. Another book from my childhood. Wish I could remember more about it. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
A childhood favorite revisited. Sexist by today's standards, but it was great to see it again. ( )
  AmphipodGirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
After rereading The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet I wondered about other childhood favorites. I became obsessed with ciphers as a result of reading this book at age 9 or 10. I didn't remember the story, but I memorized the frequency table, 40+ years ago, and I'll probably be reciting it in my dotage with Alzheimer's. The story seems not especially memorable: Alvin and his friend Shoie happen upon an encoded message in the gutter while walking home from school. Convinced they're on the trail of a nefarious plot, they seek decoding assistance from Mr Link, former WWII spy. Mr Link bursts their bubble, but begins to teach them (and Alvin's little sister The Pest who is tagging along) about codes and ciphers. Fortunately for the kids and their newly acquired skills, a real mystery appears: Miss Fenwick is seeking the treasure stolen from her multiple-greats grandfather during the Civil War. And so is "Mr Smith". A critical moment occurs in the library, where the kids encounter "Mr Smith" attempting to decipher the message that tells where the treasure is buried... At the end of the book is an appendix, with more information about ciphers. This I recall is what grabbed me. Warning: there's a cringey bit about slavery, which probably seemed benign when the book was written in 1963, and that didn't register with me as a kid circa 1968.

(read 3 Jul 2011)
  qebo | Jul 16, 2011 |
WARNING: Contains Spoilers

This is a very funny children's novel featuring a 12 year old boy named Alvin Fernald who is interested in espionage. He and his friend Shoie, who often gets words muddled find a written note in the street which they seek to understand. They and Alvin's sister the Pest visit a Mr. Link who is known to have been a spy during World War 2. He gives them advice about cryptology which becomes utiliarian when a Miss Fenwick unexpectantly visits the Fernald home
  Treesa | Jul 28, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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For David, Doug, and Cary,
who are more difficult to read
than the most secret of codes.
First words
ALVIN FERNALD had a warm, tingly feeling smack in the middle of his stomach.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Twelve-year-old Alvin and his best friend Shoie use their knowledge of codes and ciphers to solve a dangerous mystery.

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