May 13, 2010


I love a heist!  This is like the full chapter book treatment of The Dunderheads.  This book, Swindle by Gordon Korman, takes a smart kid who is indignant at being cheated by a collector who swindles him out of an extremely valuable Babe Ruth baseball card.  He soon finds he'll need help stealing back "what's rightfully mine!"  He has to convince some classmates who all happen to have to have the perfect skill set to do the job.  There's a girl who dog whispers her way past the pictured Doberman.  There's a computer hacker.  There's an aspiring actor.  There's a climbing buff.  And so on.

Like his other books, it goes down smooth with a great pace and plenty of humor.  The ending ties up everything in a too neat, but very fun conclusion much like Sachar's Holes.

This will be part of next year's Reader's Rally, our district's reading quiz bowl.  I'll be running my school's team and what they do is read all the books on the list and compete in a game-show style competition in the spring.  I need to read all the books and make up practice questions.  I attended the event this past spring and the questions are pretty low-level concrete stuff, but it seems to be a fun experience for the kids and hey, it's an excuse to buy and read a great bunch of books for the library.  We've decided to buy all the books in sets of six.  It's expensive, but they're all great books and then can go into our book rooms for future guided reading groups.

If you can think of any questions off the top of your heads for any of the books I mention are for the Reader's Rally, have at it.  So far I've only read this and Gooney Bird Greene.  Well, I've actually read more, but not recently enough to be able to make up quiz practice questions, so I'l be re-reading those over the summer as well.

If your kids like Swindle, they might be happy to know there's a sequel called Zoobreak.