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Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
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Chasing Vermeer (2004)

by Blue Balliett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Petra / Calder Art Mysteries (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3841371,604 (3.68)130
  1. 70
    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (infiniteletters)
  2. 50
    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (heidialice)
    heidialice: Nothing can top "The Westing Game" -- if you like "Chasing Vermeer" go read it!
  3. 20
    Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach (Anonymous user, elbakerone)
    elbakerone: These books are both fun young adult mysteries involving classic art, literature and historical figures!
  4. 00
    The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone (foggidawn)
  5. 00
    Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry (infiniteletters)
  6. 11
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (FFortuna)
  7. 00
    The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt (infiniteletters)
  8. 11
    The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Those who enjoyed Chasing Vermeer will not want to miss Calder and Petra in their sequel The Wright 3!
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» See also 130 mentions

English (137)  Spanish (1)  All (138)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
This book could be an independent read by a 5th-grade class to introduce geometry. The use of the pentominoes throughout the book inspires the use of these tools to teach shapes. Students would be given a set of the pentominoes and asked to make a rectangle with 2, then 3, then 4 and so on. It would get their creative thinking going and introduce these geometric shapes. This book could be used in many other ways as well, this is one of many. Fifth-grade seems old enough to understand the book and this concept of pentominoes. ( )
  TimGordon | Feb 11, 2017 |
his bewitching first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure, and delivered as a work of art.

When a book of unexplainable occurences brings Petra and Calder together, strange things start to happen: Seemingly unrelated events connect; an eccentric old woman seeks their company; an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one is spared from suspicion. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their problem solving skills, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has stumped even the FBI?
  Sara1211 | Nov 23, 2016 |
I found this book on a shelf in the waiting area of the The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, while I was waiting for my parents to finish their tour of the museum. It was a quick read--I got about 3/4ths of the way through the book while I waited--but I can't say that I would have ever read it on my own time. It was interesting and I would certainly recommend it to kids who like art or mysteries. ( )
  emilyesears | Aug 29, 2016 |
Help! I don't read mysteries, and though I'm done, and though I read carefully, I guess I just don't have the skill set. I still have questions!

For example, there's supposed to be some sort of puzzle in the pictures. I spent way too much time examining those and got nothing good. The author's note says check the website to check your answer, but that page seems to be down. (Actually, I tried one more time, and got an answer that I'm satisfied with. Still not happy about how much work it was, though.)

Well, even if I did understand all the plot, I don't think I'd like the book. I like books I can immerse myself in - and every time I had to break out scratch-paper and solve the ciphers I was distracted enough to want to abandon the book. (But I didn't because I'm reading it with the Children's Books group here on GR.) It's not like the ciphers were even interesting - simple letter-substitution, with code provided.

And the characters didn't feel quite real for me - they seemed like carefully-drawn representations. I mean, why is it important to know their exact ethnic heritage, however interestingly mixed? It's not like it affects the story.

I also didn't like the implication that the paranormal is real. I mean, it's great to look for patterns, to see beyond the superficial, etc. But to imagine that your pentominoes are speaking to you - no. It was Calder's subconscious speaking to him - and that's actually much more interesting, in my opinion.

And what's up with Denise? She's a very superficial character. What would we find if we examined her with Vermeer's or Fort's questioning mind? The author doesn't give us a clue (unless I missed it?

Reading other reviews, it looks like I'm not alone in finding the mystery confusing, in part because of randomness and unbelievability of clues. Also, I've no interest in DaVinci Code.
( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Summary: This story is about some sixth grade students who dig deep to solve a mystery of an art thief. Throughout the story, Petra and Calder work continuously to solve the mystery of a Vermeer painting that was stolen out of an art institute. Petra has a significant clue to solving the mystery after one night, she has a dream that cracks open the case. After they learn of the criminal's purpose to truthful lies about Vermeer's life and art, their pair the knowledge together to become full-throttle detectives. Throughout the story, it doesn’t give all of the clues, and keep the reader glued until the last page.

Personal Reaction: This is a book that I spent a lot of time with as a young girl. They mystery seeking that draws you deep into the pages rekindled that same fire that I had for it as a young girl. I still to this day think back to this book when I see pieces of art. I think this is a terrific book for young students to read, especially as they are getting into reading larger books. This isn’t your average picture book, and I believe it is a great starter for young studnets.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. I believe after having the students read this story, a paper would be excellent to incorporate into an assignment.
2. Great activity for Language Arts and writing a descriptive essay. There are many clues throughout the story, and for beginning writers, being able to pair all of the details together would be great for a lesson.
  AlanaLedford | Mar 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Blue Balliettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gunsteren, Dirk vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kehn, ReginaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
One can't learn much and also be comfortable. One can't learn much and let anybody else be comfortable. -- Charles Fort, Wild Talents
Dedication
For Jessie, Althea and Dan, my three questioners xxx B.B
For My mother, Colleen xxx B. H
First words
On a warm October night in Chicago three deliveries were made in the same neighborhood.
Quotations
Ms. Hussey's classroom was in the middle school building at the University School, in the neighborhood known as Hyde Park. The school sat on the edge of the University of Chicago campus.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0439372976, Paperback)

In the classic tradition of E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, debut author Blue Balliett introduces readers to another pair of precocious kids on an artful quest full of patterns, puzzles, and the power of blue M&Ms. Eleven year old Petra and Calder may be in the same sixth grade class, but they barely know each other. It’s only after a near collision during a museum field trip that they discover their shared worship of art, their teacher Ms. Hussey, and the blue candy that doesn’t melt in your hands. Their burgeoning friendship is strengthened when a creative thief steals a valuable Vermeer painting en route to Chicago, their home town. When the thief leaves a trail of public clues via the newspaper, Petra and Calder decide to try and recover the painting themselves. But tracking down the Vermeer isn’t easy, as Calder and Petra try to figure out what a set of pentominos (mathematical puzzle pieces), a mysterious book about unexplainable phenomena and a suddenly very nervous Ms. Hussey have to do with a centuries old artwork. When the thief ups the ante by declaring that he or she may very well destroy the painting, the two friends know they have to make the pieces of the puzzle fit before it’s too late!

Already being heralded as The DaVinci Code for kids, Chasing Vermeer will have middle grade readers scrutinizing art books as they try to solve the mystery along with Calder and Petra. In an added bonus, artist Brett Helquist has also hidden a secret pentomino message in several of the book’s illustrations for readers to decode. An auspicious and wonderfully satisfying debut that will leave no young detective clueless. --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:06 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.

» see all 5 descriptions

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