________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 8. . . .October 28, 2016


Jingle. (Swindle, Bk. 8).

Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2015.
199 pp., hardcover, $22.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-86142-7.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



“A box of lights won’t help me with the police,” Griffin mourned. “That guy barely stopped short of arresting me and my friends for stealing the Star.”

“Detective Vizzini was just overreacting because the news is so fresh and raw,” his mother soothed. “When the shock wears off, he’ll see that is couldn’t possibly have been you. And maybe lights will help a little. Everybody will calm down once they see that the holidays aren’t totally ruined because of one bad thing.

Griffin ran his mind over the meeting with the tall policeman. He had seen that expression on Vizzini’s face before- bland and unemotional, yet absolutely relentless. A predator that would follow its prey to the ends of the earth.


Korman’s eighth book in the “Swindle” mystery series takes place at Christmas time. Griffin Bing and his friends volunteer at the annual Santa Workshop Holiday Spectacular taking place at the Colchester mansion. Although all their parents are happy they are going, the friends are only doing it to help their friend Logan secure a spot in a well-known theatre group. On the day of the festivities, the power goes out, and Christmas is essentially cancelled in town. The Colchester’s ten million dollar Star of Prague Christmas ornament was stolen during the 12 minutes the lights were off in the mansion. In Detective Vizzini’s opinion, the middle school friends are to blame because of their past connections with other crimes. When the town starts accusing them of robbery, the friends use their talents (athletics, technology, leadership, loyalty, acting) to narrow down their suspect list to one. By tapping into emails and using GPS technology and webcams, they eliminate the Colchester’s scrounge-like neighbour, child-hating secretary, and new truck purchasing electrician. That leaves Santa, himself, or the motorcycling singing man the Colchester’s hired to play Santa who Luthor the Doberman pinscher inexplicably loves from the moment he sees him. Griffin’s friend Savannah (the owner of Luthor) is sure this sign of loyalty means the man cannot be a thief. When the friends realize they were following the wrong suspect all along, Luthor dives onto the person responsible for the theft before he gives the valuable star to his accomplice.

     Family is a central theme in this story in regards to holiday traditions and team work. Two humourous secondary plots involve Mr. Griffin’s latest invention and a possible UFO sighting in their hometown of Cedarville. At our public library, these books go out on inter-library loan quite a bit. When I checked the computer, there is already a hold on this latest book. Jingle can be read and enjoyed by both boys and girls as a stand-alone or as part of the series.


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

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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