Chasing Vermeer

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Scholastic, May 1, 2006 - Juvenile Fiction - 254 pages
15 Reviews
The classic tradition of E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, debut author Blue Balliett introduces readers to another pair of precocious kids on an artful quest full of patterns, puzzles, and the power of blue M & Ms. Eleven year old Petra and Calder may be in the same sixth grade class, but they barely know each other. It's only after a near collision during a museum field trip that they discover their shared worship of art, their teacher Ms. Hussey, and the blue candy that doesn't melt in your hands. Their burgeoning friendship is strengthened when a creative thief steals a valuable Vermeer painting en route to Chicago, their home town. When the thief leaves a trail of public clues via the newspaper, Petra and Calder decide to try and recover the painting themselves. But tracking down the Vermeer isn"t easy, as Calder and Petra try to figure out what a set of pentominos (mathematical puzzle pieces), a mysterious book about unexplainable phenomena and a suddenly very nervous Ms. Hussey have to do with a centuries old artwork. When the thief ups the ante by declaring that he or she may very well destroy the painting, the two friends know they have to make the pieces of the puzzle fit before it's too late!

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Fun and artistic, a masterpiece=)

User Review  - Kids Bookseller - Borders

FANTASTIC! I was extremely impressed with this book and immediately went looking for the second one in the series. It's a great mystery about a stolen piece of art, but its also a great story about each character and what art means to them. Read full review

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This was a very interesting book! I love the words used to describe, and how all the events connect together. Despite the other comments, this book is one you must definitely read, one of the mystery genre. The ending is almost a twist, and it's very interesting! A great class read, too.

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About Pentominoes and About This Story
lost in the art
worms snakes and periwinkles

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About the author (2006)

BLUE BALLIETT grew up in New York City, where she often visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Blue studied Art History at Brown University. She taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School before becoming a full time writer. Her first novel, Chasing Vermeer, won over a dozen awards and sold in twenty-eight countries. Balliett still writes in her laundry room, assisted by her twenty-pound cat. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois. For more information about Blue Balliett, visit:

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