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Chasing Vermeer [Read] ➭ Chasing Vermeer Author Blue Balliett – Liversite.co.uk When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one neighbors, parents, teachers is spared from suspicion As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their problem solving skills, and their knowledge of Vermeer Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled.


10 thoughts on “Chasing Vermeer

  1. Joe Joe says:

    A Da Vinci Code for tweens NewsweekThis is only one of the quoted praises lumped on Chasing Vermeer and proudly emblazoned on its back cover It is probably the most apropos quote because it hinges almost entirely on the readers familiarity with and reaction to Dan Brown s novel.If you found Da Vinci Code boring, trite, melodramatic, sophomoric, and preposterous, you will probably have a similar reaction to Blue Balliett s debut young adult novel, Chasing Vermeer.Balliett has stated that i A Da Vinci Code for tweens NewsweekThis is only one of the quoted praises lumped on Chasing Vermeer and proudly emblazoned on its back cover It is probably the most apropos quote because it hinges almost entirely on the readers familiarity with and reaction to Dan Brown s novel.If you found Da Vinci Code boring, trite, melodramatic, sophomoric, and preposterous, you will probably have a similar reaction to Blue Balliett s debut young adult novel, Chasing Vermeer.Balliett has stated that it took her five years to write Vermeer, but the central mystery is so lousy and ridiculous, it comes across as the product of a very drunken weekend in an art gallery Similar to Brown s trainwreck of a novel, Balliett lumps absurd coincidences on top of sleuthing skills that are based less on clues andon silly guesses She wears all those earrings there s a key, a pearl, a high heeled shoe Calder was muttering now Key pearl shoe shoe pearl key pearl shoe key heel key pearl key pearl heel Hey That sounds like keep her here, doesn t it maybe this means she s in Gracie Hall p 155 Come on Really Is that what being a detective is like Making goofy connections between unrelated items Sherlock Holmes must be rolling in his literary grave All this would probably be tolerable if the characters werethan paper thin sketches of precocious children and erudite villains, or if the public reactions to the stolen art weren t so far fetched, or if the red herrings weren t so obvious, or if the transitions between character narration weren t so jarring Unfortunately the believability is sacrificed at every turn.Librarians sometimes recommend books they haven t read After all, we can t read everything, but we want kids to read as much as possible Perhaps I should have listened to the 8th grade girl who stomped up to me last May, Chasing Vermeer trapped in her fist This book, she sneered, is beyond boring Her buddy glared at me, too It was terrible, Mr Prince Terrible Point taken, kids Point taken


  2. Richard Richard says:

    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett was given to me by a friend because it was similar to From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler As I d read that and liked it, I was eager to read this I ve recently becomeinterested in Vermeer, so that added to my motivation.There are some things I liked about the book There are two protagonists who are both perceived as nerds, but they are initially interesting and rather likeable Their names, by the way, were carefully chosen by Balliett Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett was given to me by a friend because it was similar to From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler As I d read that and liked it, I was eager to read this I ve recently becomeinterested in Vermeer, so that added to my motivation.There are some things I liked about the book There are two protagonists who are both perceived as nerds, but they are initially interesting and rather likeable Their names, by the way, were carefully chosen by Balliett as references to art and architecture There s an art theft and a crusty but eventually sympathetic old lady The author also tells us quite a lot about the life and work of a famous maker of old pictures, and if, as a result, young readers become interested in a kind of art that they might not otherwise have considered worth their notice, well, that s a good thing If it shows them that teachers and other adults are real people with weaknesses and foibles, rather than mere authority figures to be feared and avoided, that s a good thing too The book, especially at first, has a lot of promise But, sadly for me, it does not deliver on that promise Why Well, there were some things that just irritated me to no end One of the morals of the story is that even though things may seem unimportant or unrelated, there is no such thing as coincidence, and we should be open minded enough to see unexpected relationships between things On paper this sounds fine But in the story it leads to the overuse of intuition and the merely random as a means to provide clues We are not in Hogwarts here, and yet Calder constantly consults a set of pentominoes as if they are runes or tarot cards his method is to look at the letter he pulls out of his pocket, think of a word that starts with that letter, and then try to use that word as a guide to conduct Petra, on the other hand, has a psychic connection with a woman in a Vermeer painting who encourages and guides her At one point they try to derive clues from a series of random words uttered by the crusty but sympathetic old lady More hints are seen everywhere, to the point where they seem to crawl almost literally out of the woodwork Again, I really wanted to like this book And if this were a Harry Potter novel, it might fly But in this fictional universe, Blue s Clues are just silly


  3. Julie Julie says:

    I finished reading this to my 9 year old last night, then poked around here on Goodreads, assessing what reader response had been when the book was originally published.I was surprised by how many reviewers didn t like this book, or couldn t finish it Believe me, I understand the issues readers had with plot points Yes, the plot does unravel somewhat at the end Yes, the bad guy here was a stretch of the imagination, and too many sloppy bits were thrown in at the end I m never a fan of no I finished reading this to my 9 year old last night, then poked around here on Goodreads, assessing what reader response had been when the book was originally published.I was surprised by how many reviewers didn t like this book, or couldn t finish it Believe me, I understand the issues readers had with plot points Yes, the plot does unravel somewhat at the end Yes, the bad guy here was a stretch of the imagination, and too many sloppy bits were thrown in at the end I m never a fan of not getting your story straight before you commit it to print However when it comes to criticizing this book as a DaVinci Code for kids Hmmmm Whether you liked The DaVinci Code or hated it, you must admit it was a success It was incredibly readable I practically ate my copy , and it made people think about things for a long time after they closed the cover So, in regard to that, I say so what if it s like a DaVinci Code for kids Is that a bad thing, or an incredibly good thing This book had my daughter scouring through art books all over our house She has been 9 for less than a week, and she had copies of Vermeer paintings lined up on the floor before her, hunting for clues She also broke out a little notebook and started making connections all around her She wondered at coincidences and even asked for her own set of pentominoes.Weak plot points or not, the characters were quirky and cute and it s hard to criticize a book that inspired our child to want a return trip to the Art Institute of Chicago


  4. Kata Bel Air Kata Bel Air says:

    This book may very well be the worst book I have ever read in my entire life Why Let me break it down for you There s a painting It gets stolen Lucky for the art museum of Chicago, three fifth graders have a plan to get it back So if you d ever read the last three chapters of flat stanely, you have read this entire book First of all, I generally hate mystery books anyway, which is most likely a prime factor of my hatred for this book Secondly, I hate mysteries that involve children, just This book may very well be the worst book I have ever read in my entire life Why Let me break it down for you There s a painting It gets stolen Lucky for the art museum of Chicago, three fifth graders have a plan to get it back So if you d ever read the last three chapters of flat stanely, you have read this entire book First of all, I generally hate mystery books anyway, which is most likely a prime factor of my hatred for this book Secondly, I hate mysteries that involve children, just adding on to my hatred This entire book includes about five separate mini mysteries within one large mystery, so it s like six mysteries which like sextuples my hatred for this book Lastly, there was a whole secret language that you need to decode in order to understand parts of he book, which was irritating and took me about an hour to decode each paragraph Overall, I may just hate this book because of my opinions about mysteries and needing to stop for an hour to understand what just happened mid read Amazingy, I forcefed myself this book, thinking it would grow on me lime some mysteries have It didn t Oh well I blame the economy


  5. Wendy Wendy says:

    I loved parts of this book and disliked other parts, so there you are the epilogue ending is particularly bad in that I don t know how to work all this into the plot, so here, this is what happened kind of way The there s no such thing as coincidence stuff would have been way overdone in any other book, but I understand that that was one of the author s main points here still, I wasn t convinced And the art history reads as coming straight from the author s Brown BA at least twenty yea I loved parts of this book and disliked other parts, so there you are the epilogue ending is particularly bad in that I don t know how to work all this into the plot, so here, this is what happened kind of way The there s no such thing as coincidence stuff would have been way overdone in any other book, but I understand that that was one of the author s main points here still, I wasn t convinced And the art history reads as coming straight from the author s Brown BA at least twenty years ago very old fashioned, to the book s detriment This just isn t the way people think about art history now, and the book would have been enriched by going into the paintings at a deeper level I kept waiting for the big it doesn t matter whether Vermeer painted it payoff, and the idea that Vermeer would want to be redeemed by people agreeing that he didn t paint those lesser paintings really annoyed me On the other hand, there are moments of actual suspense, the codes are enjoyable, and it s definitely an intelligent book


  6. Carrie Carrie says:

    Another YA purchase from Green Apple books, and to be honest, a disappointment This is a new ish book, published in 2004, and while I had never read it before, I had high hopes I had read reviews that said it was clever, it has expert illustrations by Brett Helquist Lemony Snicket s illustrator , and the inside flap lead me to believe it was a puzzle tale in the same vein as The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin Chasing Vermeer is not a terrible book, but it didn t live up to my expectations.It Another YA purchase from Green Apple books, and to be honest, a disappointment This is a new ish book, published in 2004, and while I had never read it before, I had high hopes I had read reviews that said it was clever, it has expert illustrations by Brett Helquist Lemony Snicket s illustrator , and the inside flap lead me to believe it was a puzzle tale in the same vein as The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin Chasing Vermeer is not a terrible book, but it didn t live up to my expectations.It tells the story of two outcast sixth graders, Petra and Calder, who come together and ultimately solve a mystery about a missing Vermeer painting I loved the characters the leads seemed like real, nerdy, slightly unpopular students, and the supporting characters were ok, if a bit clich d from earlier books Also, the writing had some beautifully lyrical passages that I really enjoyed The fault I had was with the mystery Half of the book seemed like a solvable puzzle, with clues for the reader even clues built into the illustrations The other half turned on mystical coincidences and psychic connections In short the book seemed to want to have it both ways, and thus, left me unsatisfied The psychic mystical parts were actually quite nice dreamy and philosophical, but they didn t mesh with the everyday realness of the characters The mystery, once solved was not an Aha , but rather a huh a cobbled together explanation that was unsatisfying Too many red herrings, not enough clues, and unsolvable, I think, if one wasn t getting secret psychic messages I would read another book by Ms Balliett she has a real gift for characterization and a way with words, but I would hope that next time she issharp in her thematics and plotting


  7. Tyler Jones Tyler Jones says:

    There is much to admire in this book, but unfortunately quite a bit to dislike as well The story of two kids who solve a mystery will encourage young readers to question authority, think outside the box and look for interesting connections in the world around them All good things, right Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of potential problems with the kind of philosophy this book advocates A belief in parapsychology is a dangerous thing to instill in children because it easily leads them to There is much to admire in this book, but unfortunately quite a bit to dislike as well The story of two kids who solve a mystery will encourage young readers to question authority, think outside the box and look for interesting connections in the world around them All good things, right Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of potential problems with the kind of philosophy this book advocates A belief in parapsychology is a dangerous thing to instill in children because it easily leads them to believe that their instincts are as valid as accepted science I am quite unsettled by the idea of teaching kids to look for patterns in everything because this the thought process paranoids use While questioning authority is on the face of it a healthy idea, once you start believing that people in paintings are talking to you and that the random drawing of geometrical shapes is conveying messages to you well that is very dangerous thinking indeed.Quite frankly this book scares me We have too many nuts running around already who are convinced that the Jews knew about 911 beforehand and that Nostrodamus picked the next Stanley Cup winner Do we really need to convince our kids that their instincts are just as valid as accepted truth Can t we find abalanced approach One that relies on a scientific method rather than voices from 300 year old dead Dutch women


  8. Kerri Kerri says:

    An unexpected find that I really enjoyed Both the story and illustrations were great Will be continuing the series.


  9. Jaemi Jaemi says:

    This book was a lot of fun to read It reminded me a little of a Da Vinci code for younger minds, only in some ways this book was a lot trickier Throughout, there is a pentomino code, and another hidden code which I never tried to decipher, although I saw the clues Codes aren t my thing But I was still pulling out a notebook to decrypt the letters going between two friends in certain chapters.I think this is a really original and unique book, that looks at things in all sorts of ways ways we This book was a lot of fun to read It reminded me a little of a Da Vinci code for younger minds, only in some ways this book was a lot trickier Throughout, there is a pentomino code, and another hidden code which I never tried to decipher, although I saw the clues Codes aren t my thing But I was still pulling out a notebook to decrypt the letters going between two friends in certain chapters.I think this is a really original and unique book, that looks at things in all sorts of ways ways we might usually not The range of topics covered is somewhat broad, but they flow together, and while in some cases the thinking behind it all seems highly advanced, at the same time, younger people tend to be muchopen to crazy and wild ideas than some of theirlearned counterparts who know better If you like mysteries, puzzles, or art, definitely give this book a read._____This is one of the books I ve most enjoyed in the past few years I ve never read anything quite like it, and it has a bit of something for everyone Mystery, puzzles, codes, excitement The idea of an elementary class unraveling an injustice that far outlives them is just great.The basic story revolves around Vermeer s paintings, how many he did in his life, and how many were correctly attributed Something you d think was above the heads of grade school kids, but their class is anything but usual


  10. rachel rachel says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Usually when I read finish reading a childrens book I didn t enjoy, I ask myself whether or not I would have enjoyed it 13 years ago Sometimes my answer to me is yes and sometimes it is no , but even with the nos, I can imagine some hypothetical audience of child enjoying a book.With this one, I can t imagine any demographic Even gifted kids will probably need to have a savant like interest in art specifically Dutch Baroque art , or in the mathematical approach to coincidence, or in Americ Usually when I read finish reading a childrens book I didn t enjoy, I ask myself whether or not I would have enjoyed it 13 years ago Sometimes my answer to me is yes and sometimes it is no , but even with the nos, I can imagine some hypothetical audience of child enjoying a book.With this one, I can t imagine any demographic Even gifted kids will probably need to have a savant like interest in art specifically Dutch Baroque art , or in the mathematical approach to coincidence, or in American university architecture or, ideally, in all three in order to power through theungodly boring pages of this book Which there are a lot of Please know that I am saying this as a person who dorked out and received a 106% A final grade in Baroque Art class in college by doing unnecessary extra credit activities for fun OK So I m going to safely say that with this book, it s not meit s the book While I had mild to moderate interest in finding out who stole the Vermeer painting and why, and what role the kid detectives teacher Ms Hussey had in the whole plot, I hadthan a few moments that set me off on a mental rant Here is a list of those rants 1 So it turns out that in order to be able to learn details that are instrumental in solving the mystery, the reader NEEDS to get out a pen or pencil and paper and decode the three coded letters between Tommy and Calder I decoded exactly none of these while reading, because when I m reading I don t want to freaking stop It annoyed me so much to learn that the information Tommy gives Calder in these letters was actually really important Put a solution in the index, please It s OK to make a reader work for a mystery s solution, but work usually means think, not physically get up off the couch to grab a writing utensil I m sorry, 99% of the time I m not going to do that 2 I hate hate hate when mysteries get heavy on exposition at the end There s nothing that sucksthan to invest in a narrative and then have the author kill that narrative with cut and dry here are the details of the entire crime plot sentences, followed by a glossed over all shall be well now that the mystery is solved epilogue Those few sentence character epilogues are only tolerable in comedy films parodying character epilogues 3 All of the exploration of the coincidence of 12 and the prediction of pentominoes and the appearance of the Vermeer painting in Petra s dream what I suppose my thinking that this fatalism is annoying in a straight mystery has a lot to do with me beingpractical minded than mystical romantic perhaps not a flaw of the book itself, but a conflict of interest with me as a reader I am curious about what other Marble Fawns will think of this I will say, though, that it is annoying to me that a lot of the clues Petra and Calder used to solve the mystery were not reality based at all, but coincidences and intuitions.4 The best part of the book was learning about Petra s home life Which is like, the only section of the book that contains any humanizing character traits for the kids at all This is not an exaggeration I wanted to like this Art, kid detectives, the author s name is Blue Alas, not even being a raving fangirl of Artemisia Gentileschi and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler was enough to surmount the massive uninteresting ness of this book


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