Kids Corner: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner

The Code Busters Club Makes Learning Feel Like Fun and Games!

The Haunted Lighthouse
by Penny Warner

Series: The Code Busters Club (Case #2)
Paperback Reprint: October 8, 2013
Original Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Length: 212pp
ISBN-13: 978-1606844557

Awards: Agatha Award Winner, 2013

Related Links:
The Code Busters Club (A must-visit site!)
Penny Warner’s Website
Publisher’s Website

Buy the Book





Publisher Synopsis

An infamous prison may hold a secret only the Code Busters can uncover

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. may all have different talents, but they share one thing in common: they love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much, they have their own club, with a secret hideout and passwords that change every day.

When Cody and her friends get a mysterious e-mail hinting at a treasure on Alcatraz Island, they can’t wait to get started on their clue hunt. Luckily, a class trip to the prison is the perfect cover to start their search.

During the tour, the club members learn that a jewel thief kept at Alcatraz may have hidden his biggest haul on the island and left a series of coded messages to find it. And solving puzzles is what the Code Busters do best!

This interactive mystery features more than fifteen codes and puzzles for you to decipher along with the Code Busters, including Morse code, the tap code, LEET, and zigzag code. Answers are in the back, if you ever get stuck.

My Review

Over the weekend, I’m going to be reviewing the first four books in this series. If you missed my first post about book one, learn more about the series there. On Monday, when I review the newest release, I’ll be offering a giveaway of all four books (the first three in paperback and the latest in hardback). So be sure to come back!!


The Code Busting fun continues with book two in Penny Warner’s The Code Busters Club series, The Haunted Lighthouse. And this time, mystery ensues when the inquisitive foursome (Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E.) embarks on a school field trip to Alcatraz!

I was so focused on the interactive aspect in my review of book one that I failed to mention a couple of things which lend additional appeal to the series. Firstly, the characters are diverse. Not only do we have an even mix of boys and girls, but the kids are from racially diverse backgrounds, each adding his/her unique perspective and skills to the investigative whole. This time M.E.’s Spanish-speaking abilities come into play. Secondly, diversity comes into the picture with something that’s not often represented or even talked about in kids books. Cody’s little sister’s hearing loss has given Cody fluency in American Sign Language finger spellings. In the opening chapter, there’s a scene which shows Cody and sister Tana communicating this way. Tana delivers a finger spelling message to Cody while Cody’s talking with her friends. I like Tana politely gets word to Cody without disrupting the group. Plus, I like that when Cody’s friends show genuine interest in knowing what Tana said, Cody repeats the signs for them rather than just translating. It adds another puzzle to the reading!

How do the games in book two add up? Well, things start off strong with a Sudoku puzzle (this big kid was finally compelled to learn!) that pulls the reader straight into puzzle solving mode. As in book one, experience with finger spelling, Morse code, and semaphore comes into play. And there are even more codes represented this time. Other additions from Warner include Pig Latin, LEET code, Zigzag code, and even telephone code. Additionally, it’s interesting to learn that prisoners at Alcatraz used a tap code to communicate with one another. So we get to try that on for size, too.

The codes, clues, and games genuinely add interest and value to the story, never derailing the progress or pull of the plot but rather bolstering both. The strength of this series is that kids will gain knowledge and skills — they will LEARN — without feeling like they are receiving instruction. To them, the experience will feel simply like play. But with clues of varying degrees of difficulty, there will be something for everyone, and even the more advanced kids will find enough to challenge them. What better setting for mystery, intrigue, and edification than Alcatraz! To learn more about Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, the “Birdman” Robert Stroud, and jewel thief Diamond Dave, pick up The Haunted Light House and follow the clues with Cody and the rest of the Code Busters Club. From the prison to the Alcatraz lighthouse, to the bell tower on the UC Berkeley campus, and finally to the Claremont Hotel: will this trail lead to long lost diamonds or a dead-end? You’ll have to read it to find out!

— Dawn Teresa


4.5 Hearts - Final

4.5 of 5 Hearts. The Code Busters Club Makes Learning Feel Like Fun and Games!

Penny Warner’s Agatha Award-Winning The Haunted Lighthouse takes the mystery and fun of the Code Busters Club series to even greater heights. These books contain puzzles and codes your child will love to crack!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Egmont USA for providing me a copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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2 thoughts on “Kids Corner: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner

  1. pennywarner1 October 18, 2014 at 7:39 PM Reply

    Thanks so much for the kind review. If you or any of your readers would like a Top Secret packet of code-busting supplies, email me at with your mailing address! -Penny

    Liked by 1 person

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