February 17, 2010

Book Review: Chasing Vermeer

Posted by at 7:19 am in Reads | Permalink

Chasing_vermeer_130 I didn’t want to read Chasing Vermeer. I was tired; it was late; I was actually in the middle of another book I couldn’t put down; there was television to catch up on. But then I cracked the spine and saw that author Blue Balliett had included a lovely neighborhood map on the opening pages, showing me where the characters’ houses and other sure-to-be-important buildings were located. I studied it. I like when maps are included in books. There are usually hints in them.

And then, the jackpot. I read the opening paragraph. And as I read it, I thought, “This already sounds like my most favorite book ever, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. And if a book sounds and feels like The Westing Game from that first paragraph, there is no way I can put it down.” Off went the t.v., down went my other book, and on went my nightlight. And soon came the story.

Chasing Vermeer is part mystery, part pentomino puzzle, part action, and all smarts. Petra and Calder are two sixth-graders who are suddenly thrown into an adventure they can’t turn down. It involves a painting by Vermeer, a famous Dutch artist who lived in the 1600s. (I’ve seen some of Vermeer’s works at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam so I was doubly interested, but even if you have no clue who Vermeer is, you’ll enjoy the story!) As the two try to solve the mystery by uncovering codes a thief leaves behind in newspapers, I got to play along, too. Even the illustrations in the book offer hints—you just have to look closely enough to spot them!

This riveting book is perfect for kids who like mysteries, puzzles, art, math, codes, chases, Chicago—or any or all of the above. If you’re still not convinced, read this sample excerpt from the book. What do you think? Talk it up in the comments!

— Morgan, Scholastic staffer

  1. Mary-K

    I am writing a children’s mystery and this book was suggested to me. I have been muddling through it for weeks. I love mysteries but this book just didn’t do it for me at all. I couldn’t get myself to care if the characters succeeded or not. It appears that many of its fans also really like The Westing Game, which I also did not care for. Perhaps puzzle mysteries just aren’t my thing. I felt like it was a story written by an elementary school student. The characters were not believable and the scenes did not flow together.

  2. mj

    I loved this book! I used it for my book report. I could not put it down! I put down things to read this one. I am going to try the other two.

  3. Justin_Bieber_Lvr

    Omg I know some ppl might like those books , but i just love to read all of the Inkheart book’s . Right now I’m on Inkdeath !
    ! :D !
    IM BAD < BAD 2 THE BONE BABY !!!!!!!!

  4. Danyell103

    I had to read Chasing Vermeer for school at first I didn’t really understand it but it has to be one of the best books I have ever read and let me tell you that I read at least 100 books a year or maybe 40 books

  5. Invisiblewoman2

    OMG I love this book, coudn’t put it down either. The begining really got m hooked. I first read it at school and loved it so much that I bought it along with the 2 other books. Im lookin fora new book to read any recomendations.

  6. marzgal37

    I picked up this book in the library at my school one day. I thought it looked interesting but it got boring after the first couple of pages. I didn’t really like the book. Sorry:(

  7. Georgia

    This is one of my favorite books! Deffinatly worth your time. I read the series and I am totally hooked. What other books do you guys like along these lines???

  8. lemesamu

    I’ve gotten tired of hearing every body say you have to read chasing Vermear so one day I read it and it was the greatsest book I’ve ever read.

  9. Cal

    I have read the book The Wright three. The next book in this sieries.It was a great book ,and I would recamend it.

  10. dancingpen

    I love that book, I read it earlier this year and I loved it. At first I just neededd a book for my book report and I picked it randomly and at first you can not understand ANYTHING about it but then you start to catch on about the missing master piece. I loved how Brett Helequist aka my favorite illustrater hid those codes Calder uses. Brett Helequist is the illustrater of y favorite series A Series of Unfortunate Events. You should totally read these books if you loved Chasing Vermeer. Later Peeps check my profile.

  11. vanessa

    i read chasing veermear it is intristing it is a bout 3 ppl that got this mystirious letter an then they steal the lady writing the painting in done with it now in reading the 2nd book im so interstead in veearmear books they r so amasing

  12. BronzeKnife1

    This sounds awesome! I love all the puzzle-like books such as Encyclopedia Brown, The 39 Clues, The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Puzzling World of Winston Breen. Thanks for the review! I’ll have to check this book out!

  13. Marytonga

    Mystery-puzzle-codes, and I feel that this has some history! After beating the first Encyclopedia Brown in… FOREVER! And falling in love with Mysterious Benedict Society, any of those things are welcome. Oh, the history sounds good because I’m a big history geek(runs in the family.) So, next time I go to the library, looking for this book! I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before…

  14. Crystal

    I love this book. Read it years ago, but still love it. :) What was the other book you were reading that you couldn’t put down?

  15. Lucy

    Hi! I read all the books. I LOVE them! Bret Heliquist, who does the pictures, also did the pictures for the Lemony Snicket books and a book called Shakespeare’s secret. That book rocks! I couldn’t put it down, it’s about a girl named Hero (named after a girl in one of Shakespeare’s plays)who lives in a house that may have a necklace hidden in it that proves who the real Shakespeare was! It rocks, you should read it!

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