Reviews for Swindle
Booklist Reviews 2008 January #1
Griffin Bing is "The Man With The Plan." Faced with a predicament, he responds with a caper of equal or greater proportions, the likes of which would make Lucille Ball proud. When he finds a rare baseball card, the sale of which would rescue his family's mechanical fruit-picking tool business, and loses it to the titular, nefarious collectibles dealer, Griffin puts together a team of sixth-grade specialists to pull off the biggest heist Cedarville has ever seen. The high jinks move along at a heady clip, punctuated by facsimile reproductions of Griffin's elaborate plans and team communications. The characters are stock (long-suffering best friend, mousy computer enthusiast, self-important thespian), and what seems to be a product placement for a car calls undue attention to itself in a few places. But the plot is the main attraction, and its clever intricacies--silly, deceptively predictable, and seasoned with the occasional, unexpected twist--do not disappoint. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 January #1
Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is "the man with the plan." If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family's money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber "Pitch" takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino's e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 February
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, MI [Page 118]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2008 April
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.-Lucy Schall 4Q 4P M Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.