Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

When Vermeer’s painting A Lady Writing comes up missing, Calder and Petra, sixth grade classmates put together a number of clues and coincidences to find the priceless painting while clearing the names of their teacher, neighbor, and friend. Calder is fascinated by patterns and always has his set of pentominos, which seems to guide them by enlightening him with words that spark their actions. He even corresponds with his friend Tommy by code in a letters that must be decoded to read. Petra is a gifted young lady who comes across a book entitled Lo! By Charles Fort, which discusses a number of odd events that have happened in the world at various times but seem to be connected. A woman in the painting who seems to be guiding the duo to her fascinates Petra. Throw in an eccentric teacher who sparks free thinking, curiosity and discovery and you have story that will be hard to put down.

What I Thought:
What a fun book! What makes this book even more interesting is the "secret code" that is inserted throughout the text that the reader must decode to grasp a portion of the story. (The code key is given in the book.) Fans of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin or The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franweiler by E.L. Konisburg will devour this book.

I'm excited to read the next two books: Wright Three and Calder Game.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.

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