Cover image for Chasing Vermeer
Title:
Chasing Vermeer
Author:
Balliett, Blue, 1955-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
254 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm
Summary:
When strange and seemingly unrelated 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.
Language:
English
Contents:
Three deliveries -- The letter is dead -- Lost in the art -- Picasso's lie -- Worms, snakes, and periwinkles -- The geographer's box -- The man on the wall -- A halloween surprise -- The blue ones -- Inside the puzzle --Nightmare -- Tea at four -- X the experts -- Flashing lights -- Murder and hot chocolate -- A morning in the dark -- What happens now? -- A bad fall -- The shock on the stairs -- A maniac -- Looking and seeing -- Twelves -- Help! -- The pieces.
Reading Level:
770 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 6.0 78186.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.6 6 Quiz: 35198 Guided reading level: T.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780439372947

9780439703185

9780439372978
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

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?


Author Notes

Blue Balliett was born in New York City in 1955. She received a degree in art history from Brown University. After graduating, she moved to Nantucket Island, Massachusetts and wrote two books of ghost stories. She eventually moved to Chicago and taught third grade at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Her first children's book, Chasing Vermeer, won the 2005 Edgar Award in the Best Juvenile category. Her other works include The Wright 3 (2006), The Calder Game (2008), and The Danger Box (2010).

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. The Westing Game, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler--how exciting to find a book that conjures up these innovative, well-loved titles. That's exactly what Balliett does in her debut novel, which mixes mystery, puzzles, possibilities, and art. The story is set in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood at the University of Chicago's Lab School, where Balliett was a teacher. There, outsiders Petra and Calder become friends as they try to find out what happened to a missing Vermeer painting. That's really all the plot one needs to know. More important are Balliett's purpose in writing and the way she has structured her story. The former seems to be to get to children to think--about relationships, connections, coincidences, and the subtle language of artwork. To accomplish this, she peppers her story with seemingly random events that eventually come together in a startling, delightful pattern. The novel isn't perfect. It glides over a few nitty-gritty details (how did the thief nab the picture), and occasionally the coincidences seem more silly than serendipitous. However, these are quibbles for a book that offers children something new upon each reading. Adults who understand the links between children's reading and their developing minds and imaginations will see this as special, too. Helquist, who has illustrated the Lemony Snickett books, outdoes himself here, providing an interactive mystery in his pictures. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

"Puzzles nest within puzzles in this ingeniously plotted and lightly delivered first novel that, revolving around the heist of a Vermeer painting," PW said in a starred review. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Fans of Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game (Dutton, 1978) and E. L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Turtleback, 1967) will welcome this novel about two classmates determined to solve the mystery of a missing painting. Brainy 12-year-olds Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay attend the University of Chicago Laboratory School where their teacher's unorthodox methods make learning an adventure. When Vermeer's A Lady Writing disappears on its way to exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, the two overcome their adolescent awkwardness and let their friendship bloom, pooling their talents to rescue the masterpiece and expose the thief. Many elements play a role in unraveling the secrets surrounding the crime: Calder's set of pentominoes; his encoded correspondence with his friend Tommy about a missing boy named Frog; and Petra's intuitive communing with the woman in the painting, all augmented by the unusual ideas presented in a strange old book that Petra has found. Balliett also provides lots of plot twists and red herrings along the way. Helquist's atmospheric black-and-white illustrations add to the fun, incorporating clues to a secret message, the answer to which can be found on the publisher's Web site. Puzzles, codes, letters, number and wordplay, a bit of danger, a vivid sense of place, and a wealth of quirky characters enrich the exciting, fast-paced story that's sure to be relished by mystery lovers.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen: Seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one--neighbors, parents, teachers--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 left even the FBI baffled? Excerpted from Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

About Pentominoes and About This Storyp. xi
About the Artwork: A Challenge to the Readerp. xiii
Chapter 1 Three Deliveriesp. 1
Chapter 2 The Letter is Deadp. 6
Chapter 3 Lost in the Artp. 18
Chapter 4 Picasso's Liep. 35
Chapter 5 Worms, Snakes, and Periwinklesp. 43
Chapter 6 The Geographer's Boxp. 50
Chapter 7 The Man on the Wallp. 61
Chapter 8 A Halloween Surprisep. 76
Chapter 9 The Blue Onesp. 81
Chapter 10 Inside the Puzzlep. 90
Chapter 11 Nightmarep. 99
Chapter 12 Tea at Fourp. 112
Chapter 13 X the Expertsp. 127
Chapter 14 Flashing Lightsp. 134
Chapter 15 Murder and Hot Chocolatep. 144
Chapter 16 A Morning in the Darkp. 154
Chapter 17 What Happens Now?p. 167
Chapter 18 A Bad Fallp. 174
Chapter 19 The Shock on the Stairsp. 188
Chapter 20 A Maniacp. 198
Chapter 21 Looking and Seeingp. 205
Chapter 22 Twelvesp. 214
Chapter 23 Help!p. 226
Chapter 24 The Piecesp. 236