Alpha, Bravo, Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes
By Sara Gillingham
Have you ever wondered what all those colorful flags on ships are for? Well it turns out, as I learned from this maritime book, each flag not only has a meaning but a letter associated with it. For each of the twenty-six alphabet flags, from alpha to zulu, a full-page illustration, front and back, is provided along with the meaning and a short description of how it is used by sailors. Other nautical codes associated with each letter are provided including the phonetic words, Morse code, and semaphore (flag waving). Each letter also features an illustration and description of different types of boats.
The introduction and descriptions in this book are informative without being overwhelming. The simplistic illustrations are bright and colorful giving the whole book a playful feel. The flag pages have a linen-like texture that brings a tactile element to the book. A glossary of nautical words is included in the back of the book along with websites for additional information about nautical history, boats, codes, and decorating with flags in case this book only serves to “wet” your appetite for all things salty and sea-worthy.
After reading this book, don’t be surprised if you find yourself tapping out messages in Morse code or decorating you room with flags that spell out your initials… I know I sure did!
Review by: Meredith (Harrington Library)