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FRAMED

From the Swindle series , Vol. 3

“The Man With The Plan,” Griffin Bing, and his 12-year-old fix-it clique have graduated to Cedarville Middle School, and the new principal is a total nightmare. A former high-school football coach, Dr. Egan (aka Dr. Evil) makes the whole school exercise instead of having homeroom, and he warns Griffin he’s fully aware of the boy’s nearly illegal activities past. When Griffin’s errant retainer is discovered in a locked display case in place of the Super Bowl ring of a former student, Griffin is sent to JFK (jail for kids) Alternative Education Center while the case works its way through courts. Griffin and his friends know he’s innocent—but unfortunately the man with the plan’s plans have the usual result: Everyone gets in more trouble. Griffin’s suddenly under house arrest, and the other kids have to use their specialized skills to find the real thief before he’s sent further up the river. Korman’s third caper starring Griffin & Co. features some conclusion-jumping that would do Inspector Clouseau proud as well as plenty of improbable adult reactions…but it’s just as goofball-funny and addictive as the previous two (Zoobreak, 2009, etc.). (Fiction. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-17849-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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FRAMED!

From the Framed! series , Vol. 1

More escapades are promised in this improbable but satisfying series starter

A smart kid foils big-time thieves in the nation’s capital—and joins the FBI.

Using a method he invented called the Theory of All Small Things, white seventh-grader Florian Bates solves mysteries by piecing together seemingly trivial clues in this engaging, humorous, but not always logical caper. When Florian easily helps the FBI recover three masterpieces stolen from the National Gallery of Art, the dazzled feds supply him with an alias and train him at Quantico. Collaborating with his African-American best friend, superbright, athletic Margaret, Florian finds that even with TOAST, sleuthing gets dangerous when the pair, working undercover, come up against a European crime syndicate—and another spectacular art heist in the form of a forgery substituted for an iconic Monet. Exciting adventures ensue, and clues accumulate until the culprit is revealed and the genuine painting located. Missteps intrude, though: a few lapses in logic may leave readers puzzled; some clues seem contrived; and a subplot involving Florian’s discovery of the startling identity of adopted Margaret’s biological father falls flat. The solution is also a letdown: the thief is a minor figure, and the means by which the painting was stolen and the forgery set in its place aren’t explained. The real draws here are the two resourceful leads’ solid, realistic friendship, bolstered by snappy dialogue, brisk pacing, and well-crafted ancillary characters—not to mention behind-the-scenes glimpses of the FBI.

More escapades are promised in this improbable but satisfying series starter . (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3630-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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BUTT SANDWICH & TREE

Slick sleuthing punctuated by action on the boards and insights into differences that matter—and those that don’t.

Brothers, one neurodivergent, team up to shoot baskets and find a thief.

With the coach spit-bellowing at him to play better or get out, basketball tryouts are such a disaster for 11-year-old Green that he pelts out of the gym—becoming the chief suspect to everyone except his fiercely protective older brother, Cedar, when a valuable ring vanishes from the coach’s office. Used to being misunderstood, Green is less affected by the assumption of his guilt than Cedar, whose violent reactions risk his suspension. Switching narrative duties in alternating first-person chapters, the brothers join forces to search for clues to the real thief—amassing notes, eliminating possibilities (only with reluctance does Green discard Ringwraiths from his exhaustive list of possible perps), and, on the way to an ingenious denouement, discovering several schoolmates and grown-ups who, like Cedar, see Green as his own unique self, not just another “special needs” kid. In an author’s note, King writes that he based his title characters on family members, adding an element of conviction to his portrayals of Green as a smart, unathletic tween with a wry sense of humor and of Cedar’s attachment to him as founded in real affection, not just duty. Ultimately, the author finds positive qualities to accentuate in most of the rest of the cast too, ending on a tide of apologies and fence-mendings. Cedar and Green default to White.

Slick sleuthing punctuated by action on the boards and insights into differences that matter—and those that don’t. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-261-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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