________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 22 . . . . February 10, 2012



Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2012.
248 pp., hardcover, $18.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-32059-7.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



"Good. You're up."

There was something in Griffin's brisk, businesslike tone that made Ben nervous.

"So?" he asked with a wary yawn.

"We've got swimming at ten. We'd better hurry if we're going to make it to the dog pound before that."

Ben choked. "The dog pound? What for?"

Griffin's expression softened. "We can't leave him there."

"Yeah, we can. And we will! We've been dreaming of being rid of Luthor ever since he was a guard dog at Swindle's store."

Griffin nodded. "Not this way. If he was adopted by a family from Uzbekistan, great. I'd even buy him a carcass of raw meat to eat on the plane ride over. But if no one adopts that dog - and who would? - he's going to be put down. We can't let that happen. We owe it to Savannah. We even sort of owe it to Luthor. Horrible, vicious monsters have a right to live, too, you know."

Ben thinks Griffin's plan to save Luthor might not work, but he knows they need to try because their friend Savannah is about to lose what she loves most, her Doberman. Luthor was sent to the pound after his behaviour at the Cedarville mall resulted in a lawsuit. When Savannah and her family leave town, Ben and Griffin decide they will earn the money the Drysdale family needs to get the lawsuit dropped. To do this though, they will need to turn Luthor, a former guard dog, into an obedient, award-winning show dog. They hoped books from the library would teach them what they needed to know, but with Savannah away, Luthor is more uncontrollable and unpredictable than normal. There is a dog trainer they could ask, but to get his advice, they will need to find him first. He's been "missing" for three years, and he's let the public know he wants to be left alone.

      Korman's humorous writing style is evident when he describes Griffin and Ben's fear of Luthor and their inexperience with dog training. The scenes involving the dog shows include details about the judging process and the different breeds of dogs. The competition between rivals at the dog shows adds tension to the story; newspaper clippings, cryptic messages and pages outlining Griffin's plans draw attention to details of the story.

      Showoff, book four in the "Swindle" series, can be read as a stand-alone, but, because the books have circulated quite a bit in our library system, I would recommend libraries buy the first three books in the series as well.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian with the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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