‘Jingle: A Swindle Mystery’ by Gordon Korman is a perfect middle grade Christmas story


Better than “A Christmas Carol,” better than “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is “Jingle” by Gordon Korman. Why? Because it’s filled with not only sneaky-but-very-clever children, it’s also filled with funny ferrets and daring Dobermans. (Only one of each, actually.)

Like the other adventures in the “Swindle” series, this one features Griffin Bing, the “man with the plan;” his narcoleptic friend Ben with his service ferret; “Pitch,”their extremely athletic, mountain-climbing friend; Logan, the aspiring actor; Melissa, the computer genius; and Savannah, the girl with the Doberman, the monkey, the cat, and an assortment of other furry (and not-so-furry) animals.

When a ten million dollar antique Christmas ornament disappears, Bing and his group of friends are the first ones suspected of the crime. It’s up to them to solve the mystery, find the ornament, and clear their names. Can they do it in time to save the town?

Darren Vader, their nemesis, continues to plague the group with his unethical, underhanded, unbelievable actions. Other new characters appear, old ones reappear, and the story is filled with snow, elves, and lots of Christmas spirit.

This story is especially touching as one of the themes is that appearances are deceiving. Someone who looks like a thug may not actually be a thug. And someone who looks beyond reproach may be the guilty one!

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Scholastic, for review purposes.