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Chasing Vermeer (Chasing Vermeer #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  23,076 Ratings  ·  2,006 Reviews
Petra and Calder live in a neighbourhood where strange things have started to happen. Seemingly unrelated events connect, a sharp old woman seeks their company - and a priceless Vermeer disappears. Before they know it, they are drawn into an international art sensation where no one is above suspicion.
Published September 5th 2005 (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Joe
Aug 01, 2008 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who like to be bored.
Shelves: middle-school-ya
"A Da Vinci Code for tweens." - Newsweek

This 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
...more
Richard
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 become more interested 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
...more
Kata Bel Air
Dec 15, 2008 Kata Bel Air rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap-tastic
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
...more
Wendy
Nov 25, 2007 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-fiction
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 ...more
Julie
Mar 31, 2017 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Carrie
Jan 13, 2009 Carrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jenny
Nov 07, 2007 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-fiction
Through a string of seemingly unrelated events, Calder and Petra find themselves in the center of an art heist that has the world buzzing and the Police and museum officials puzzled. Can Calder and Petra find the priceless Vermeer before it’s too late? And what exactly do their teacher Ms. Hussey and Mrs. Sharpe, the old lady down the street, have to do with it? The University of Chicago campus and Calder and Petra’s neighborhood of Hyde Park are the backdrop for this fast moving tale of art and ...more
Tyler Jones
Jan 03, 2013 Tyler Jones rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
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
...more
Jaemi
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
...more
Victor Guerrero
**SPOILER ALERT** Have you ever tried to solve a mystery ? Well Petra and Calder have. The genre of this book is mystery.Its mystery because Calder and Petra are trying to find the famous Vermeer painting that has been stolen. My overall opinion of this book is i loved it because it's so fun and loved the creativity.

In the beginning of the book Petra and Calder receive a letter from an unknown person asking them for help fixing a crime involving art. This letter threatens them, telling them tha
...more
Emily
May 18, 2013 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud, audio
I had far too many problems with this book to even start to enumerate them. I'll just mention the one thing I really liked about sharing the experience of listening to this book (the first half) and then reading it aloud (the second) with my son. It so happened that when we reached the point in the story where Vermeer's painting "A Lady Writing" is introduced, we were visiting my mother's home in Northern Virginia. On the morning of the drive home, it turned out to be really easy to make our fir ...more
Megan Baxter
Chasing Vermeer is a fun children's book, easy to read, with pictures that involve some thought, if you want to put that thought into it. (I am lazy, I did not.) I have some overall questions about the tack the book takes on Charles Fort and how it veers a little bit into magic without ever exploring that, but hey, a children's book that might introduce kids to Charles Fort? I'm pretty much in.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement
...more
Christopher Alvarado
I loved the book because shows a new level of mystery for me because I liked how a painting was stolen.And too characters named Petra and Calder want to find it they use pentominos to help them find the painting and they find the painting but while they where doing that strange things are happining.
Natalie
Feb 16, 2009 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book rocks, and so do blue m&ms!!!!!!!!!!! a really good story!
Oda
Apr 26, 2017 Oda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fave book from when I was younger
Samantha Sheeran
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett is a story about two sixth graders who go on a magical adventure! The book starts out by 3 anonymous people receiving a letter asking for help to uncover the truth about an artist named Vermeer. You find out at the end of the book that these three people in fact live in the same area and are related in many ways. Petra and Calder seem to be your typical sixth grade students, until you realize that they think very differently than other sixth graders. They are mes ...more
Tracy
Mar 10, 2009 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The star rating may be a little unfair. For me, as an adult, it's two stars. Any kid age 8 to 12 probably would give this 5 stars. This is a code within a story, and I had a hard time deciding which to pay attention to. Because there's also an identical code in the pictures which is easily deciphered, I chose story. I'm pretty sure the code is easily deciphered within the story, I just didn't write down each time the author mentioned a specific pentomino.

The storyline really is pretty good with
...more
Patrick
This book is OK. It's not really trying to be the Da Vinci Code for kids, but the movement in recent years with "smart" protagonists is definitely represented here.

The two protagonists are very likable and I was interested in the glowingly positive representation of the Chicago School constructivist education model. The problem here is a common one in YA, but magnified in this book I think. The kids are too curious and diligent. I can believe the overly brave, adventurous kids in most YA more t
...more
Emily Peed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Connie Strong
Feb 29, 2012 Connie Strong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliet and Illustrated by Brett Hellquist,is a fascinating mystery novel that continually draws readers in. In this respect it is a very interactive novel. For starters the two main characters, Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee, are perceived to be extremely geeky. However, they both realize that they have many common interests such as both liking blue M & M's, and end up becoming great friends. Their quirks have an appeal that readers cannot help but like. Calder and ...more
Melee
Aug 09, 2011 Melee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, mystery
I might have enjoyed this more had I not had its predecessors in the forefront of my brain. Such as, the two kid main characters in Chasing Vermeer becoming obsessed with a work of art which reminded me so strongly of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler. And the back rather made it sound like a mystery that could have been written by Ellen Raskin. So, with those two things in mind, this book could be nothing but a disappointment. Well, perhaps 'disappointment' is the wrong word, ...more
Katelan Mccullum
Feb 25, 2013 Katelan Mccullum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chasing-vermeer
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett is such an intriguing book for young adult readers! I absolutely love mystery books and this one kept me on my toes! I found myself unable to put it down wanting to know what would happen next. I must say that the end was not what I expected. This book could be pinned as a spin off of the Da Vinci Code and the characters, Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay really bring the story to life. This book will relate well to children who feel as though they get caught in st ...more
Kara
Jan 21, 2011 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interestingly enough, for all the love this book gets, it basically sucks. The mystery hinges almost entirely on unimaginable coincidences and hunches, which is pretty weak. Even pre-teens deserve better than this. And unlike the DaVinci Code, to which it is strangely compared in a blurb, it drags and the adult characters are unidentifiable and bleed together.
Now, with all that said, I've never yet had a more enjoyable time reading a book with a group of twelve-year-olds. The kids were totally e
...more
Megan
I really wanted to like this, and I think it could have been really great, but unfortunately the coincidences and psychic connections were all too far fetched for me within the context of an "ordinary" book (no supernatural/magical element).

I liked the kids, the way they were nerdy and both from interesting racial backgrounds, and the way the authority figures were all fallable and the kids genuinely cared about them. I also liked the way art - history and interpretation - was handled, because
...more
Tătaru Maria (Dark_werewolf13)
La inceput, cartea mi-a placut mult. Foarte mult. Chiar ma gandisem sa ii dau 5 stelute.
Avea logica, mister si intriga si ma facea sa imi storc creierii.
Dar pe parcurs au inceput sa apara prambureli despre vise magice, comunicari tablou-copchii si niste coincidente care tineau de ei insisi, nu de caz in sine.
De asemenea, speram ca hotul sa nu fie doar un alt ingamfat, iubitor de banet, ci chiar un fel de super erou al artei. Ar fi fost mult mai interesant un idealist, cu principii, dar care fa
...more
Paige
Dec 21, 2014 Paige rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Chasing Vermeer!!! It has lots of art history and mystery. I really like mystery books, and this is a great and mysterious book. You have so many characters and events, that you have lots of different suspicions. I actually had nothing to read, and so my mom texted my violin teacher because I was going to a violin lesson, and she suggested Chasing Vermeer. She said that she knew I would love it, and I definitely did. I would suggest this book to anyone looking for a good mystery book tha ...more
Mairead
One star for Hyde Park as a character as Hanna so perfectly said, and one star for the laugh I had when one of the details of Ida Noyes (Dell) was that stinky garbage smell that always comes out of the east grates. The rest just read so non-sensically convenient even if that was the point? Couldn't. But HP love!
Monserrat Carmona
I love it so much!!!!! I love mysteries and I especially loved this one. I hope someone who read my review try or read this book.
Kami Watanabe
Jan 08, 2016 Kami Watanabe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chasing Vermeer was a good book. I don't really like mysteries so that is a compliment. Overall this was a great book!!!!
Brenda Montesdeoca
I did not like this book as much. I did not like it because I am not really interested in mysteries.
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Sorry, but... 6 52 Jan 11, 2015 08:16AM  
Manchester Distri...: Chasing Vermeer: Artist, Caillebotte 3 8 Nov 19, 2014 04:12AM  
Children's Books: October 2014 Chasing Vermeer 19 31 Oct 31, 2014 11:49AM  
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86085
I was born in New York City and grew up playing in Central Park, getting my share of scraped knees, and riding many public buses and subways. By the time I was a teenager, I sometimes stopped at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Frick Museum after school, just to wander and look and think. The Met has five Vermeer paintings and the Frick three, so Vermeer and I have been friends for many years ...more
More about Blue Balliett...

Other Books in the Series

Chasing Vermeer (4 books)
  • The Wright 3 (Chasing Vermeer, #2)
  • The Calder Game (Chasing Vermeer, #3)
  • Pieces and Players (Chasing Vermeer, #4)

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“The greatest art belongs to the world. Do not be intimidated by the experts. Trust your instincts. Do not be afraid to go against what you were taught, or what you were told to see or believe. Every person, every set of eyes, has the right to the truth.” 66 likes
“You will come to agree with me.” 8 likes
More quotes…