Regular readers of this blog will know that Gordon Korman is one of my absolute favorite kids authors. The first book I read by him was Swindle, a book about Griffin Bing and his gang of friends to steal back a valuable 1920 Babe Ruth baseball card that is rightfully theirs; the owner of a local baseball shop, S. Wendell Palomino (otherwise known as Swindle) buys the card from Griffin after he finds it in an old abandoned house for only $120. I highly recommend this book and it was recently featured in my Six Books for Tweens that are Breathtakingly Awesome list. Other people massively enjoy it, too, and it has sold millions of copies and become wildly popular among kids.
I also mentioned in that list that there were three sequels. Showoff by Gordon Korman is the latest book in the Swindle Series. Griffin and his friends are back in a caper that will take animal expert Savannah Drysdale’s dog Luthor from the pound to the Global Kennel Society Dog Competition.
Lest you worry you need to read them in order – while I’d recommend it, the plots aren’t tied together, and these books can stand well by themselves
Okay, now to the actual plot and book. Griffin and his friend Ben Slovak are on a six-week sleepover during the summer while Griffin’s dad, an inventor, tours Europe in order to try to sell his stock. Griffin and Ben are best friends, with Griffin being the “Man with the Plan” and Ben being his sidekick.
As school lets out, they meet up with Savannah to attend a dog show which showcases the number one dog in the world at the time, Electra. Savannah brought her dog Luthor along with her to see the show. However, it comes to pass that a tragedy happens. For some reason, Luthor goes and attacks Electra. Luthor is a big doberman who used to be a guard dog, but Electra is just a tiny dog, and is injured badly. Electra was going for an unprecedented third straight victory at the Global Kennel Society Dog Competition, a victory that would’ve netted her owners multi-millions of dollars. Now, they will be suing for compensation against Savannah and her family.
The lawsuit is for over $7,000,000, and even though Luthor has never done anything like this before (as aforementioned, he used to be a guard dog, but with Savannah he’s fun-loving and absolutely fine), the Drysdale’s decide that they have to take Luthor to the pound in order to make themselves look better for the lawsuit.
Luthor was Savannah’s most beloved pet, and his disappearance throws the entire household into a frenzy. Another of Savannah’s pets, Cleopatra (a monkey), was best friends with Luthor, and even tries to break into Griffin’s house in the hope that Luthor might be there. But Savannah is even more distraught. She is so upset that her parents take her on a vacation for the summer to get her mind off her beloved (and likely to be soon dead) dog.
Griffin and Ben are at first not too upset about it. They didn’t like Luthor anyways. But when Griffin hears Luthor’s mournful wails, he knows they have to do something. And they can’t let Savannah’s family go bankrupt! But what can they do? It’s no problem for the Man with the Plan.
There’s no way Griffin’s dad will let them adopt the huge (and menacing canine), but maybe they can somehow get Luthor to win the Global Kennel Club. If they can, then not only can Luthor get back to Savannah, but the money from that can pay off the lawsuit. But can Griffin and Ben train a dog that wrecks an entire garage in less than a day? Especially since without Savannah, Luthor is in an especially bad mood? Will the truth about why Luthor attacked Savannah coax an old dog-lover back into the show to save the day?
The book is 240 pages with large font. It’s meant for kids around 9-14, and has high quality writing. While an action/adventure book, the danger contained is not nearly as much as the other books in the series. Someone tries to harm them, but it is underplayed and never made to be too serious a problem. This book is different in tone from all the other books in the series. It has a lot of action, but is much more relaxed, in addition to being a lot more predictable than the other books.
Despite not being quite the high-stakes rollercoaster the other Swindle books are, Showoff is still a good addition to the series and will be well-received among kid readers. Click here to buy the book, Showoff by Gordon Korman! You can also enter your email below to get more book reviews. And you can like my Facebook page if you want.