Swindle, Gordon Korman; Hyperion Books, 2008.

Grade Level: 3-5

ISBN-13 HB 9780439903448; $16.99

ISBN-10 HB 0439903440; $16.99

ISBN-13 PB 9780439903455; $

ISBN-10 PB 0439903459; $


© 2008, used by permission of publisher.



After being conned out of his valuable baseball card, sixth grader Griffin Bing devises a plan to break in to the store and steal the card back with the help of his misfit friends and enemies.


General Review: 

Outraged at having been “swindled” out of a valuable baseball card, sixth grader Griffin Bing has to get the card back no matter what the obstacles. And there are obstacles: a large fence, a high-tech security system, and a ferocious guard dog. Griffin, the man with a plan, knows that he is going to need help. He enlists an expert climber, an electronics whiz, an aspiring actor and an animal lover. A page-turning adventure full of suspense, great characters, humor and a surprise ending. Great for a read aloud that will have the students begging for more.

Themes: Crime, Baseball Cards, Swindlers and swindling, Adventure and adventurers.


Author Information: 





Literature Resource Center www.kslib.info

Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature

Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults

Writers for Young Adults


Discussion Questions (Standard 3; Benchmark 3)

•  Why does Griffin organize the sleep over in the Old Rockford House? What does he hope to accomplish?

•  How does Griffin discover that he had been swindled? Is he justified in stealing the baseball card back?

•  For Griffin, developing a plan is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Why did he choose each member for the team? Why can Griffin trust them?

•  What do you think about Griffin's advice for getting around adult rules? Good advice or not?

•  Describe Darren Vader and his role in the story.



•  Go to the official web site ( www.cesarmillaninc.com/dogwhisperer/ ) of the television show about a “dog whisperer”. Compare what he does to what Savannah does with the guard dog. (Standard 9; Benchmark 1)

•  Design a prop (show & tell item) related to the story. (Standard 3; Benchmark 4)

•  Design a scrapbook for one of the classmates recruited for the team. Have the theme of the scrapbook be centered around Operation Baseball Card Rescue. (Standard 3; Benchmark 4)

•  Outline the events in the story by developing a timeline. (Standard 3; Benchmark 4)

•  Pretend you are a news reporter. Write an article for the newspaper about the story as if it really happened. (Standard 3; Benchmark 4)


Similar Books for Further Reading: 

•  Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

•  Honus and Me by Dan Gutman

•  Case of the Stolen Baseball Cards by James Preller