Alpha, Bravo, Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes by Sara Gillingham

Published by Phaidon Press 

Summary: The four-page introduction explains signal flags, the phonetic alphabet, Morse code, and semaphore, as well as how all of these are used by ships’ crews to communicate.  Then come two-page spreads, one for each letter of the alphabet, that explain what each signal flag means, and give the phonetic, Morse, and semaphore versions of the letter as well.  In between these two pages is a signal flag for that letter on textured paper, cut into the appropriate shape for the flags that aren’t rectangular.  The alphabets are summarized on two pages at the end, followed by additional resources and a glossary of nautical words.  120 pages; grades 1-6.

Pros:  Kids will be drawn to this beautiful book by its design, but will stick with it to learn and use the cool codes.  There is plenty of interesting information in addition to the visuals.

Cons:  The $20 price tag, combined with the somewhat fragile flags may give librarians pause about purchasing this book.

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