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SHOWOFF by Gordon Korman


From the Swindle series, volume 4

by Gordon Korman

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-32059-7
Publisher: Scholastic

Intrepid man-with-a-plan Griffin is up to his old tricks in his fourth outing, accompanied by a cast of patient middle-school best friends, all on a mission to save an overly energetic dog.

After Savannah’s gigantic Doberman, Luthor, inexplicably trashes a public appearance by show dog Electra, resulting in an unfortunate tail injury to the valuable beagle, Electra’s owner sues her family and she’s forced to relinquish her beloved pet to the animal shelter. Classmates Griffin and Ben bring the dog home, which is not too difficult since Griffin’s parents are touring Europe, trying to sell a quirky new invention. All the boys need to do is hide Luthor in Griffin’s garage, train him, win a dog show championship and then turn the money that will pour in afterward over to Electra’s owner. If this scheme sounds highly improbable, well, that’s half the fun. Eventually, they end up at the world’s grandest dog show, with Luthor competing for the championship—if only they can thwart the wily criminal who’s trying to upset their efforts. This tale stands alone well, with marginal character development taking second place to the narrative’s nearly believable twists and turns. Ample dog-show details will appeal to pet enthusiasts. 

A bumpy, plot-driven ride that moves along at a brisk pace, enthusiastically catapulting toward a potentially disastrous and hilarious conclusion. (Fiction. 8-12)