by Blue Balliett
Finished July 20, 2009
A fun mystery. There were a little bit too many convenient fantasy type plot points. I mean that the author gave her characters some psychic powers that led them to discovering the whereabouts of the missing Vermeer painting. Too many coincidences were involved. But, she did acknowledge the coincidences and came up with an explanation for the easy way that the mystery was solved.
Anyway, it was a fun read. Petra and Calder are great characters and will make for a popular series of books. This is the type of book that's a teacher's dream. Think of the curriculum connections! Art! Puzzles! History! Serve the kids blue M & M's while having them look for clues in Vermeer paintings!
I kept thinking of The DaVinci Code while reading this book. Blue Balliett has taken a similar theme - solving a mystery connected to a famous artist and painting - and made it much more entertaining than did Dan Brown. I'd believe Balliett's research before I'd believe Dan Browns.
The next Petra and Calder book is about Frank Lloyd Wright, I believe. It's called The Wright 3. Or the next one could be The Calder Game. I like books like this that get a kid thinking about art. In Amazon's "customers who bought this also bought" section, it lists The Mysterious Benedict Society. Chasing Vermeer would appeal greatly to fans of Benedict Society. But I think Benedict Society is a better book.