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Book Review: Swindle

By Gordon Korman
Scholastic Press
ISBN 9780439903448
Grades 4-6
In Stores March 2008


Can we get a few more copies please?

I work as library media specialist in a school district with four elementary buildings. Right now two of the schools are holding their annual book fair and “Swindle” is the most sought after item … other than the pencils with fuzzy dog toppers (cringe). It helps that “Swindle” was featured prominently in a video we show students hyping up some of the books that will be on sale. I have to say that the hype was warranted. This heist story is sure to catch on with a wide range of readers, including that hardest to reach segment of the reading population: boys.

Griffin is a guy to likes to think things through. He has a plan for everything and can always count on his best friend Ben to help him execute his grand ideas. One such idea leads to the discovery of an old Babe Ruth baseball card. When the boys take the card to their local memorabilia fanatic (S. Wendell Palomino, henceforth known as “Swindle”), the collector dupes Griffin and buys the card for cheap. When it comes to light that the card could be worth millions, Griffin assembles a team to get the card back. There’s Pitch, the climber; Logan, thespian; Melissa, computer pro; and Savannah, animal control. Everyone needs to play their role to perfection – Swindle is obsessed with keeping his prized possession secure. Do they pull the job without a hitch? Not even close. But what fun is it if things go as planned?

I was wondering how this one was going to end, in fact I was racing to find out. Griffin and his crew commit a crime – you can’t really just say “and then they got away. The End”. So how does the author wrap up the story and leave the reader satisfied while dealing with the serious nature of the offense? Mr. Korman does an admirable job. Our heroes don’t get off the hook, but they aren’t really left on the hook either. It didn’t disappoint.

So let’s see: kids being sneaky + the chance to be rich + sticking it to a greedy adult. Yep, by my calculations we have genuine reluctant reader gold on our hands. Now if I could just scare up a few more copies for kids on the book fair waiting list…

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. amazzzzzzing

    • hooorrrriiibbblllee !
      let mah say tht easyier fopr yuh 2 read
      cus yuh must not know bad from good o_o
      tht first word is HORRIBLE

  2. Iffy…
    Although the plot is amazing, It was a bit fast pace. There was not much explaining on the settings and character. Because of this it was hard to have a visual idea of the settings and characters.
    Main plot- After spending a night a house about to be demolished Griffin Bing finds a babe ruth baseball card. So the next day he goes to a antique dealer. There the seller swindles him, buying it for 120$ when, he later realizes, it was worth 1million dollors. So after the dealer refuses to give it back, Griffin organizes a team to steal the card back.
    I think the book is also pricey.
    last is if i had to rate it 1-5 (5 being the best) I would give it 2 1/2.

  3. i think this book was alright it infact it was really good i really liked the beginning when griffin first finds the card and all the things that happened why they were sleeping in that old house and overall it waas a great srory i really liked it….

  4. it was a really awesome book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. i really really liked it

  6. uhm ye… this book was good well right now i have a book report to do and right now im doing the character traits. so i think theres to many characters because i have to right like a paragraph each char and i need to do it on page!!! theres like 9 peepz i goota do it on!!! (0_o) it taking me forevever

  7. I really liked this book! Plot was amzing. But, was ther a dynamic chaacter in this book?

  8. OMG
    That book sucked i will never read it again!!!!

  9. The book was very exiting and fun i had fun reading the book and i hope u will like it too

  10. sry about about the book suck now i read it i realized that it isnt that bad. i hope i can really intro other ppl to this book

  11. It was a good book but not a great one!

  12. The book was not half bad if you ask me. There was definately alot of details & supporting ideas. I didn’t really like how they repeated some of the dialogue sometimes, but I’m sure it was just to make it clear. Some parts of Swindle wasn’t all that intresting, I would probably say somewhat it was boring. It’s not a hard book to read at all! No difficult words or anything. Overall, Swindle was a good book to read, even though I didn’t like the whole idea of the book.
    Rating Out Of 5: 3.5 :)

  13. i liked the idea of the book but i have a book report on it and i have to describe all of the characters and i have no idea what any of them look like… there needs to be a better description

  14. I’m gonna read this book for summer reading and it seems like a book fulled with suspense and action thats what I like in a book and look for in a book and my freind that read it said that it’s hard to find a book as good as it is!

  15. uhm .. for all you ppl who think its good . . . . IHTS NOT !i!
    iht suxd so bad OMG ill neva tell another pereson to read iht

    • I liek chez burgerz says

      okay Tori…… stop saying to other people “don’t read it” or “you’re wrong! it sucks!”. People have there own decisions and FYI I have to do a book report on this although IDK why I’m saying that.

  16. this book is cool!!!!!!!!

  17. This book was great.it was so good i am going to do all my book reports on this one. also i am going to do some on zoobreak and framed

  18. yea, it’s alright i guess

  19. it a great book i wish u guys like it
    it has lots action and it makes u curious

  20. i love it!!!!!!

  21. it seems like a good book although i never read it lol but i want 2 :)

  22. Hey I love it just that I never. Read it before but I want 2