The Calder Game (Chasing Vermeer, #3)
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The Calder Game (Chasing Vermeer #3)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,792 ratings  ·  409 reviews
Petra, Calder, and Tommy, the sleuths at the center of the amazing CHASING VERMEER and THE WRIGHT 3, are back with a labyrinthine new mystery to solve.

When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery . . . including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the scu...more
Hardcover, 379 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Scholastic Press
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Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
Art & Artists in Fiction
146th out of 379 books — 650 voters
The Bad Beginning by Lemony SnicketThe Reptile Room by Lemony SnicketThe Wide Window by Lemony SnicketThe Miserable Mill by Lemony SnicketThe Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
Illustrated or Cover Art by Brett Helquist
19th out of 57 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Monica Edinger
Third in Balliett's series involving three smart kids, an artist, and a mystery. This one features the artist Alexander Calder and takes place largely in Oxford, England.

Calder is an artist made for kids to appreciate and Balliett does a super job intriguing her intended audience. As with her previous books she engagingly provides puzzles and such to entice them to go off and find out even more about this marvelous artist. Her love of art and artists is clear yet, as in her earlier books, she c...more
I liked the intent of this book: to get kids excited about art and ideas. It inspired me to make a mobile - a piece of art in motion, never exactly the same thing twice -- like people do in this book. I like the idea that art can be for anyone, not just those rich enough to collect it.

However, the characters and plot seemed a bit lame to me. I never really cared about the characters very much; they were too two-dimensional. Granted, if I had read the previous two books of the series, I might ca...more
Rashika (is tired)
Actual Rating 3.5

I believe this is the first time in a couple of years that I read a middle grade book. The only reason I even picked it up was because I had read the first two books in the series in middle school and adored them. So I set out to complete the series.

It was such an interesting experience because middle grade is so different from YA and Adult and it was just so refreshing.

But with that said it’s pretty hard to say anything about this book because I have no idea how I feel about it...more
Ali Mac Book-Pro
It was more interesting than the Wright Three...

It looked more exciting...

It had a better story...

But what was wrong with it?

Let Me Tell You:
Nothing happened by page 100. That's right, nothing. And the whole point of the story was to: find Calder, who is believed to have been kidnapped. But what really happened... there is no way the author could've made a more boring "mystery." And Tommy and Petra? They didn't get along. Again. You would've thought that they would've been friends by now... but...more
Gwen the Librarian
I vaguely remember not being all that thrilled with Balliett's second book, The Wright 3, but The Calder Game is delightfully full of mystery and suspense, incorporating her familiar themes of art, language, and numbers. I love how Balliett introduces artists and thier work to young readers. I get excited about whomever she's writing about, so hopefully the kids will too.

Balliett takes the action to England, where Calder and his dad are traveling on a business trip. With Calder out of the threes...more
Having worked at an arts magnet school for the past three years, I struggled to find ways to incorporate art into my student's day while still meeting all of my core content responsibilities. This and the other two Balliett books solved my problem. Every time I put the bookmark in and said, "I think we'll stop there for today." They would groan and say "one more chapter!" We made Calder mobiles the last week of school and it was amazing to me how well my little 4th graders incorporated Calder st...more
Warren Truitt
An OK mystery. The text was a little too repetitive and the "clues" fell too neatly into place. Having said that, I think lots of kids would like this third whodunnit from Balliett.
this book suffered from all of the short-comings of her first two. all three books are ridiculously heavy-handed with the symbolism and "coincidences," and the "codes" and patterns she devises are kind of lame, especially in this book. also, all three books parrot her own personal opinions about the state of "art." oh, you like vermeer, calder, and bansky (and we learn late in this book--baaaaarf--o'keefe)? that's nice. also, she thinks all art should be free all the time (admirable enough, sure...more
Tanya Stone
Feb 19, 2013 Tanya Stone rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mystery chapter book
For ages 9 and up

When Calder goes missing on a trip to England, his friends Petra and Tommy become involved in the search for what happened to him - and a missing Alexander Calder sculpture.

This is the third installment in Balliett's series of art-related mysteries. Illustrations by Brett Helquist not only compliment the story but also contain a mystery of their own. The story has a great sense of atmosphere and does a wonderful job of describing real and imaginary art, which...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2009 Akhila is currently reading it
i am currently reading this book pretty gud book i actually really like the beggining thats where i am rite now the way it is written is really nice the first chapter is like 2 pgs and its like u understood everything they said but u didnt
Adam Rash
I think that the book The Calder Games was one of the best books in the world. So at the beginning there was a boy named Richard and he lived with his divorced mom. One night there was a man outside of their house and he heard a gun shot. Richard ran to his room and saw his mom lying on the floor dead. Richard wanted to find out who had killed his mother.

The next day Richard went over to his two best friends houses to ask them to help him with finding who had killed his mother. His friends names...more
Picked this up as an Advanced Read at work. I didn't think it was available in stores yet, so I was surprised to see it on here. I took this from one of the buyers at Barnes & Noble because I love Brett Helquist's artwork. The book itself was pretty good. It actually was a bit like Lemony Snicket in that one kid is good with numbers, one kid is good at finding things, and the other is a whiz with words.

The beginning of the book is extremely good; a very suspenseful mystery of two Calders lo...more
I personally think it is the best book in the series.
Jayce Senter
I'm a fan of Blue Balliett. I like how she combines a mystery with art history in such a way that you don't realize how much you are learning about art as you are enjoying her story.

Genre: Mystery

AR level: 5.4

Grade appropriate: 3rd grade and up

Overall: 4/5-- an interesting book and entertaining as well.

Creativity: 5/5-- Balliett is the only author I know of that incorporates art into her children's books.

Characters: 4/5-- In this book Petra and Tommy are so frustrated with ea...more
The Calder Game was a good book. It was the ending to a trilogy, and it was a satisfying ending. The characters were developed, regardless if they were knew or returning. I liked the change of setting from Chicago to England. This book had more adventure than mystery and puzzles. The previous books had a lot more suspense and solving. I liked how the author developed many friendships throughout the book. The writing was powerful because it was intriguing. Also, there was a lot of symbolization....more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Calder, Petra and Tommy (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3) are back with another puzzling art mystery. Now in 7th grade, the three go with their class to see an exhibit of Alexander Calder’s mobiles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Shortly after the field trip, Calder and his Dad take a trip to England and stay in a tiny village well known for its giant garden maze. The maze is life-size, and easy to get lost in, like the maze in the last challenge in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fir...more
This trilogy by Blue Balliett is an amazing look into symbolism- in a way that I never thought of before. This third book has less symbolism and is a true mystery story- still very satisfying. Alexander Calder, for whom Calder, the boy protagonist, was named, was an artist whose work consisted mostly of mobiles that made people think and imagine. Calder and his friends travel to the museum with their class to view Calder's works where the public is invited to "play the Calder Game"- to invent th...more
This was an interesting book. The series is supposed to be mystery stories but none of them every quite make it to the mystery part. I don't know if it was because I was listening to it rather than reading (and therefore couldn't really skim the boring parts) but this book kind of dragged for me.
Calder, Petra and Tommy, three, well, not really friends since Tommy and Petra don't really get on well but they are the three protagonists and they are not enjoying their seventh grade year. Their teach...more
This was another re-read for me, and at first I would have agreed with other reviewers in saying that Chasing Vermeer and Wright 3 are better than this one. Now, I'm not so sure. I found so much more the second time through. I found myself fascinated with the number of times the colors red. yellow, and black (and shadow) were used to emphasize key emotional moments in the story. There was a sense of motion and change throughout - reminding me of the mobile motif that permeates the story. I'm so...more
This week I’ve been reading The Calder Game by Blue Balliett. One of the conflicts in the book revolves around the fact that Calder and his friends had a wonderful teacher named Ms. Hussey last year in sixth grade, but this year in seventh grade they have nasty Ms. Button. I sure hope that I am more of a Hussey-type teacher than a Button-type teacher! I think that students at the university who are studying to become teachers should have to read this book so that they can learn how to be more li...more
Oct 21, 2008 Katrina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of the Series
Shelves: juvenile, fiction, mystery
As always, Blue Balliett has created an intricately woven story which takes art, mystery, and friendship and turns it into one heck of a book. What's especially nice about THE CALDER GAME is that you don't necessarily have to have read the other books in the series (CHASING VERMEER and THE WRIGHT 3) to understand what's going on; while it would be nice, this story is complete on its own.

While I really liked this book, I'm not sure it was quite as good as the first, which often happens, but it w...more
I have always enjoyed reading this series by Blue Blalliett and am pleased to finish it. She takes our everyday world and turns it into a world filled of patterns, numbers, coincidences, and words.

This last book was a good ending to the series of Chasing Vermeer. It ends leaving everyone the way they should be, especially the three main characters. Although, it was hard to get into it until the last ten chapters, mainly because of the pace. In the past two books something new happens on every pa...more
Karen Ball
Awesome mystery! Lots of twists and turns in this one, which is third in the mysteries series. It made me want to find out all about Alexander Calder and his art! Calder Pillay accompanies his father to England, where his father is attending a conference in Oxford. They stay at a tiny bed-and-breakfast in Woodstock, just outside of Oxford. The village has received an anonymous gift of a large Alexander Calder sculpture, which has been placed in the town square. Calder (the boy) is fascinated by...more
I loved this book -- no surprise as I love art history. Although I was familiar with Alexander's Calder's work, particularly his mobiles, I gained a new appreciation of his art. Balliet does an excellent job of conveying the revolutionary nature of Calder's changing mobiles. One of my favorite parts was when she talks about Einstein watching a Calder sculpture for some time, then walking away and muttering something like, "I wish I had thought of that."

Balliet does a masterful job of layering my...more
Original review atThe Little Bookworm refers to audio book

Calder Pillay loves to solve puzzles. When he goes to England on a trip with his father, he is intrigued by the giant Alexander Calder (his namesake) sculpture in the town square of the sleepy British town where they are staying. Then both the Calders disappear on the same day. Did the Calders leave together or did something happen to each separtely? And what was Calder working on when he disappeared? Calder's friends, Tommy & Petra,...more
The basic storyline is that Petra, Calder, and Tommy are three friends. Or at least Petra and Tommy are friends with Calder if they don't quite get along themselves. Together they have solved art mysteries by using their individual puzzling, word, and finding skills. The way they solve problems is interesting and fun to read about. This time Calder goes to England with his father. In Chicago there is an exhibit of Alexander Calder, who Calder is named after, mobiles. All three friends love the a...more
Evan Alexander
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Calder Game is the third book in a series of mysteries set around art themes. This particular book focused on Alexander Calder sculptures. Chasing Vermeer focused on the art of Vermeer, while The Wright Three centered the mystery on the architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Personally, I enjoyed teaching Chasing Vermeer and would enjoy teaching a unit on the Calder Game. I think you could tie in elements of sculptures, pentominoes, codes, mobiles and even history. Like the first book, I really want...more
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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
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