by Korman, Gordon

After unscrupulous collector S. Wendell Palamino cons him out of a valuable baseball card, sixth-grader Griffin Bing puts together a band of misfits to break into Palomino's heavily guarded store and steal the card back, planning to use the money to finance his father's failing invention, the SmartPick fruit picker.

Gordon Korman is the author of The 39 Clues Book 2: One False Note, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and The 39 Clues Book #8: The Emperor's Code. Gordon has written more than sixty books for kids and young adults, including Zoobreak, Swindle, and Son of the Mob, as well as the On the Run series and the Island, Everest, Dive, and Kidnapped trilogies. A native of Ontario, Canada, Korman now lives with his family in Long Island, New York.

Griffin Bing is "The Man With The Plan." Faced with a predicament, he responds with a caper of equal or greater proportions, the likes of which would make Lucille Ball proud. When he finds a rare baseball card, the sale of which would rescue his family's mechanical fruit-picking tool business, and loses it to the titular, nefarious collectibles dealer, Griffin puts together a team of sixth-grade specialists to pull off the biggest heist Cedarville has ever seen. The high jinks move along at a heady clip, punctuated by facsimile reproductions of Griffin's elaborate plans and team communications. The characters are stock (long-suffering best friend, mousy computer enthusiast, self-important thespian), and what seems to be a product placement for a car calls undue attention to itself in a few places. But the plot is the main attraction, and its clever intricacies-silly, deceptively predictable, and seasoned with the occasional, unexpected twist-do not disappoint. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is "the man with the plan." If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family's money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber "Pitch" takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino's e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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