Chasing Vermeer

May 29, 2009
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Chasing Vermeer is a mystery book written by Blue Balliet and illustrated by Brett Helquist. It is 236 pages filled with patterns, puzzles, and secret letters. The story takes place in Chicago, Illinois. The two main characters are Petra Andalle and Calder Pillay. During most of the year in sixth grade instead of staying home and doing homework or playing outside they get themselves caught up in an art theft. I liked this book because it was very interesting and it had me guessing through out the whole book who the art thief was.


Petra and Calder are two ordinary kids in the sixth grade with their ordinary teacher Ms. Hussey, or at least that’s what they thought. When one of the world’s most famous painting “A Lady in Writing” done by Vermeer goes missing, they suspect their teacher Ms. Hussey on having something to do with it. When the thief starts sending threatening letters about the painting, Petra and Calder know the police won’t be able to solve this mystery by themselves. While trying to find the painting, they get themselves into trouble with their parents and they even put themselves in a life threatening situation. But to find out whether or not they ever retrieved the painting you have to read Chasing Vermeer yourself.


I like the book because it kept me guessing throughout the whole book on who the art thief was. In the book the illustrator put one picture in each chapter with a clue in it. It’s said that if you close enough you can find the clues and it will help you solve the mystery as you keep on reading. I also liked the book because there were many twists and turns. When you think you know who the art thief is something comes up and you end up being wrong. One example is when I thought in the beginning that Ms. Hussey was the art thief and as you read on you find out how who he really is tied in to the missing painting.


When this book came out, it was right around the time of the Da Vinci code came out, so many people called Chasing Vermeer the Da Vinci code for kids. I would recommend this book to kids of ages eleven to fourteen. Less than eleven years old and the book would be too complicated and non-enjoyable. Over fourteen and the level of the book would be to low.


In conclusion, I thought Chasing Vermeer was a book filled with puzzles, clues, blue M&Ms and a very interesting art theft mystery that was enjoyable to read. I hope that other kids who read it will feel the same way I did and recommend it to others too.





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