Chasing Vermeer By Blue Balliett

December 15, 2008
By Sadie Yudkin, Portland, OR

Chasing Vermeer is a magnificent book about friendship, challenges, and questions. The story is fast paced tale about two sixth grade students, Calder and Petra. They are neighbors who were never friends; they barely knew each other until strange coincidents started to happen. When kids start missing and artist's names start appearing everywhere in their lives like Vermeer and Charles Fort, they start to wonder. When the most famous Vermeer painting gets stolen on its trip from one museum to the next, Calder and Petra joined and created a strong friendship to last. They have to figure out the mysteries of this century old painting, the Lady Writing. When their teacher goes missing then she reappears and her arm is broken, questions start to bubble up and they have to seek the answers. Will the friends find the painting or will the thief destroy it first? You have to read the book to find the answers as the story unwinds.
I really enjoyed this book because of the constant action and excitement. The curious and strange happenings were very fun to follow along with. I thought the characters were very real and I could connect with them very easily. The only part that I thought could be improved was that some of the coincidences were hard to believe but I thought it was an over all great book. I thought out of five stars it was a four and a half. It was hard to put the book down at some points in the great adventure.

Compared to the book I read last month I thought this one was better written and easier to understand. I thought it was interesting how Blue Balliett incorporated a real artist, Vermeer, and made a fictional mystery about it. I liked the detail of scenery and character; it really gave everyone their own unique personality. The style of writing Blue Balliett chose is one I like. It gave a lot of detail while still making sense. I appreciated the story and its reference to art because not many writers have the skill to incorporate something as realistic and complicated as art and put it into a children's' fictional book.
I admired Chasing Vermeer for its swift action and the thrilling mystery. I liked how it was hard to put the book down, I rated it five stars. The story was a good lesson on discovering and making friends. I liked how the story was like a puzzle and as some pieces fit together it all started to fall into place.

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