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Swindle Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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Praise for the Swindle series:
"Goofball-funny and addictive." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Pure fun from top to bottom." ―School Library Journal
"Korman's fast moving, feel-good suspense novel will have middle schoolers, especially boys, turning the pages." ―Voice of Youth Advocates
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Top customer reviews
Please remember that this is a fiction/adventure story and I do not advocate kids planning and carrying out major heists. But this book teaches the value of friendship, planning, team work and follow through of a plan as a valuable life lesson. Besides that, it was fun to read.
Griffin Bing is "The Man with a Plan," and his plans are often huge. The book starts off with Griffin's plan to spend a night with a bunch of his classmates in a creaky, old, rumored-to-be-haunted, ready-to-be-torn-down house, a plan that doesn't exactly come off with a bang. At least not the one he intended. The only person to show up is Ben Slovak, the runt of the sixth grade and Griffin's best friend. The first part of the book is intended to draw in youthful readers with gory tales and details of gruesome events that allegedly took place in the house. It works. I've read a few negative comments that the author endorses lying to one's parents and like sentiments. Korman doesn't endorse such behavior; he uses it to create characters. The book is not intended to be hagiography. Find me a child who's never lied to his/her parents. Find me a parent who's never lied to her/his child. Santa Claus, anyone?
Anyway, without giving much of the plot away, Griffin finds something quite valuable in the house, but is quickly swindled out of it by a slimy "antiquities" dealer. So Griffin has to concoct another scheme to get his treasure back. Kudos to Korman for his pacing. With a hundred pages to go, the master plan is already being implemented. "How's he going to stretch this thing out that far?" I wondered. But he does, with surprises, twists, screwups, and backstabbings that pop up at breakneck speed throughout the long, climactic event.
Of course, much of the overall premise is ludicrous, if you're going to get technical. Everything is timed to the second; missteps can be corrected within two pages, a bad guy's hands are within inches of a treasure right as the good guys steal it away with a Batman or James Bond like device. Real life isn't like this. But this is not written as a realistic crime thriller. It's written for kids and the main thing that will attract them is the fast-paced action in which kids outwit adults. Any of your typical bank heist movies could use whizzes like these. And in the end, good triumphs over evil, Griffin saves the day (though inadvertently), and kids have devoured an entertaining read.
I did have some problems keeping all the characters apart at times, but Korman helps by assigning one or two distinctive traits/talents to each character, kind of like a baseball scorecard might assign positions to players. One girl is the climbing expert, another is an "animal whisperer," another has narcolepsy, etc. I also commend him for salting the early part of the story with details that will become important later on.
So SWINDLE may not be chock full of vitamins for kids, but it is a very enjoyable bowl of popcorn, perfectly seasoned. If I had this book in sixth grade, I would have loved it.
A great read for kids looking for adventure!
Most recent customer reviews
I wonder why Luthor is on every cover on every book maybe swindle is in every one.