Swindle (Swindle Series #1)by Gordon Korman
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Ocean's 11 . . . with 11-year-olds, in a super stand-alone heist caper from Gordon Korman! After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle's compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way -- a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their inability to drive -- but Griffin and his team are going to get back what's rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue. This is Gordon Korman at his crowd-pleasing best, perfect for readers who like to hoot, howl, and heist.
Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing enlists sixth grade friends who have computer, climbing, acting, animal handling, and swindling skills to retrieve a possible million-dollar Babe Ruth baseball card from a shop owner who scammed it from Griffin for only $125. Griffin hopes that selling the card will solve his parents' financial problems brought on by his father quitting his engineering job to focus on his invention, the SmartPick, which picks fruit without bruising it. The crew sends the shop owner tickets to a hockey game and break into his house while he is gone. With the help of the SmartPick, they overcome hostile guard dogs, security systems, neighbor surveillance, and betrayal to secure the card, but Griffin must return it to its rightful owner. Eventually the card funds the building of a town museum that includes a skate park, which is dedicated to Griffin and his team, and the caper brings attention and investors to the SmartPick so that Griffin's family is financially secure. Korman's fast moving, feel-good suspense novel will have middle schoolers, especially boys, turning the pages. Griffin, "The Man With a Plan," is resourceful but believable and likeable. He needs his friends, learns from them, and makes some poor choices for good causes. He out thinks the bad guys, supports his father (the good guy), and commits a crime with which even the police sympathize. The dog cover, large print, and ample white space make it reluctant reader material. Reviewer: Lucy Schall
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)
Gr 3-7- When Griffin Bing and his pal Ben discover an old Babe Ruth baseball card in a home about to be demolished, Griffin-aware that his dad's lack of success as an inventor is causing increasing stress at home-dreams of selling it for thousands and using his share to keep the family financially afloat. The boys are somewhat deflated when they present the card to collectibles dealer S. Wendell Palomino and he suggests that it is a reproduction and buys it for just $120. They soon discover that the sleazy dealer plans to auction off the card, which is actually an extremely rare misprint, and that it is expected to sell for well over a million dollars. Outraged at having been taken advantage of, Griffin plans to steal the valuable card back from Palomino-or "Swindle," as he now calls him-but doing so is no mean feat. Among the obstacles the boys face are a large fence, a high-tech security system, and a ferocious guard dog. Clearly, special skills are needed, so they recruit a ragtag crew of oddball accomplices including an expert climber, an electronics whiz, an aspiring actor, and an animal lover who claims to be able to put even the most hardened, snarling canines in touch with their cuddly inner puppies. This kids-versus-adults-themed story is pure plot-driven fun from top to bottom. If you read it aloud, don't be surprised when your listeners beg you for "just one more chapter."-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MICopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
Gordon Korman is the author of The 39 Clues Book 2: One False Note, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and The 39 Clues Book #8: The Emperor's Code. Gordon has written more than sixty books for kids and young adults, including Zoobreak, Swindle, and Son of the Mob, as well as the On the Run series and the Island, Everest, Dive, and Kidnapped trilogies. A native of Ontario, Canada, Korman now lives with his family in Long Island, New York.
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