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Masterpiece

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  5,624 ratings  ·  647 reviews
Chinese edition of Masterpiece by Elise Broach, the 2008 EB White Read Aloud winner for When Dinosaurs Came With Everything. Marvin the beetle and his friend James go on an adventure to thwart a heist of a masterpiece from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is also a story of complicated family relationships and art history told through humor and masterful ink drawing. In ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Xiao Tian Xia/Tsai Fong Books (first published February 29th 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kathryn
An engaging story that is part art heist and part The Borrowers with a dash of Metamorphosis. Both boy and beetle here are so sweet and endearing. I read this when I was pregnant with my son and it is one I would definitely like to share with him when he is older. A few parts of the art heist seemed a bit too neat and tidy and sometimes the jump from beetle world to human world was a bit discordant but overall I really enjoyed the story and loved out protagonists. Also has some of the best passa ...more
Kathi
I read this book out loud in the car while my friend, and fellow author, Kathy Whitehead and I drove across the Texas plains from Abilene to College Station.

The rhythm of the prose, the pacing, the language all come together to create the perfect read-aloud. I also want to add that there are some small bits of humor throughout that I think might be lost in silent reading. But Kathy and I found ourselves laughing out loud in dozens of subtle spots.

Well done, Ms. Broach! The story is surprising
...more
Lars Guthrie
E.B. White, George Selden. Sophisticated little animals. Manhattanites of yesteryear, with their glib savoir faire and urban obtuseness. Witty, well-chosen language. It’s counterintuitive that it still sells.

‘Stuart Little’ and ‘The Cricket in Times Square’ still do, thankfully. People just won’t give up on literate, if retrograde, children’s literature, because reading it, particularly reading it aloud, remains such a delight.

‘Masterpiece’ could have been published 50 years ago with hardly a r
...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
The central story of Marvin and Jame's friendship and the art heist are tender/thrilling in turns. There is a problem with the pacing when too much time is spent on tangential details (too many lists of things that the beetles do or eat) or the beetle's lifestyle, for example, that turtle in the tank chapter does not move the plot along, does not come into play later in the story. Some trimming and tightening of the plot would have made this one of the better mysteries for children... but the te ...more
Raina
Cute story from the perspective of a beetle. Imagines his life in the kitchen cabinet of a New York apartment, and his friend with the boy who lives there. Turns out, Marvin (our beetle friend) is a fabulous artist, skillful enough to imitate the greats. Thus begins an art theft adventure, with Marvin venturing further from his home than ever before.
Old-fashioned (includes some illustrations), cool art element, appeals to lovers of the borrowers. Engaging, nonthreatening and sweet. Worth booktal
...more
Penny McGill
This book was wonderful in so many ways - we all just loved it. It was fun to read aloud and we couldn't wait to see how it ended. The story takes a very strange turn so it was tough to read it and not stop over and over to say things like "What is going on NOW?" and that made it even more fun. We needed a pause button on my voice, if that were at all possible.

Saying this book is about a boy with a beetle for a friend is really not enough. It has the beauty of Charlotte's Web in it because the i
...more
Rick Riordan
While in Wichita Falls, I finished reading Masterpiece, by Elise Broach. A really fun read. Boy meets beetle. Beetle turns out to be a gifted artist. Boy and beetle help foil a major art heist. It's like a combination of Chasing Vermeer and Cricket in Times Square. Check it out.
Kristen Lo
While most kids chapter books that I like are set in some fantasy/surreal world with their own rules, Masterpiece is set in reality (ok, despite the fact that a beetle and a boy become friends). It's a fun story with twists that I didn't see coming, doesn't patronize its reader, and it's messy-- divorced parents, kid with no friends, etc.-- so it was a nice introduction to my son that life can turn out well even when it gets complicated. I can't wait to read Ms. Broach's other work with my boys.
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan
A very cute story. I wasn't sure I'd like a book about a boy and a beetle, but I did. I admired the friendship that develops between them. I also enjoyed learning about the artist Albrecht Durer and art heists. I had no idea there was such a thing as art stealing criminals!

I also appreciated the humor in this novel, such as the following:
"It must be Denny's mail, Marvin thought. He knew a little about the human system of mail, because Papa had explained it to him several weeks ago, when, tragica
...more
Bob Redmond
This is the story of a beetle who befriends a boy by drawing some pen-and, ahem, antenna-and-ink pictures.

It's in the spirit of CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE, with cute drawings and a relationship between an insect and a boy. There's also an art-history lesson, a theft, and a drama that plays out in the Met. Hey, could this be another FROM THE MIXED-UP-FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER, another (with Selden's CRICKET) Newberry-award winner?

No. This book is constructed, VERY constructed, to be just li
...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Marvin is a small black beetle who lives in James' family's house. He and his family live in hollowed out rooms behind the kitchen sink, and keep the plumbing and wiring in repair to prevent a handyman from discovering their existence.

Marvin likes James, who is a decent kid, and feels sorry for him, because James doesn't get much attention from his remarried mom, who's more interested in selling expensive Manhattan apartments than him.

So when James gets a pen and ink set from his father for his
...more
Zoe
This book is a charming concept, and a wonderful bridge for kids who like animal stories, but maybe need to get into literature a bit more. It was a read aloud to my 8 year old, but would be an enjoyable read-to-self for a ten year old. There are lots of large words here, some of which need to be explained, but the protagonist is young and approachable.
On the surface this story is about a beetle and his family who live an apartment with the Pompaday's, most notably the ignored son James. A frie
...more
Becky
Jul 18, 2009 Becky rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 9-12
Shelves: tweens, mystery
Masterpiece is about a boy, a beetle, and an art mystery. That's a pretty strange plot for a book, but it works out well in this story, which is very enjoyable and the pace keeps you reading until the end. Marvin the beetle lives with his family in the Pompadays' apartment. When James, the young boy who lives there, gets a pen and ink set for his birthday, Marvin stumbles upon it one night and makes an unusually good, detailed drawing. James finds out it was Marvin, and they strike up a unique f ...more
Ruth Ruiz
This YA Fantasy book was a pleasant surprise. I was immediately engaged in the first chapter which was titled "Family Emergency". This book is about a family of beetles who live in a wall in the Pompaday's apartment. Marvin, a beetle, begins a friendship with the Pompaday's son James. I love how the story starts out very innocent with a beetle and his family just watching the day to day activities of the humans whose apartment they live in. Then to my surprise it turns into an adventure and myst ...more
Catherine
If I were leaning toward recommending to a child a mystery/unlikely friendship story that also features a healthy dose of art history, I will allow my eyes to scan a few shelves past 'J Fic Balliett' and go for this one instead. It's a difficult premise to pull off--a beetle the size of a grain of rice befriends an 11-year old boy and they are both drawn into an art-theft intrigue involving Albrecht Durer (sorry for the missing umlaut)--and the author does it charmingly. I only wish that Durer h ...more
Doreen Cavazza
I read this story to my daughter at bedtime. I found it to be a fun story, though slow at times. The author has an affinity for adverbs, so much so it became daunting -- for example: "Karl said softly." "Marvin screamed silently", "He said quietly". After a short time, the adverbs stuck out like a Christmas tree in a swimming pool. There were some run-on sentences which went on for almost a paragraph. Some of the descriptions were long and labored, and repeat information became tedious. But, all ...more
Joey Zadina
Masterpiece is a great fantasy book because there is Marvin who is a beetle living under the sink of a New York City apartment that is home to an eleven year old boy, James, and his family. Marvin and James become friends throughout the story, which in itself is touching, but what is more touching to me is that Marvin is just a small beetle; and he tries to help James' life in any way possible. Of course, there is one way in which Marvin really helps James to gain acceptance from those around hi ...more
Christian Wallace
Personal Reaction- This book was one of the first book's that I have read that reminded me of the joy of childhood. I enjoyed almost every aspect of this book. The plot moved well and it never left me bored or confused. The characters are all very interesting, especially Marvin the beetle. Marvin and his family live under the Pompaday's kitchen sink minding their own business, but unlike his family, Marvin wants to experience more in life. Marvin's dynamic character is an obvious reason that thi ...more
Zahava Davis
Personal Response:
I found this book very cute and perfect for older elementary students. The easy connection with bugs, made it so much more realistic and fun to picture. The main characters, Marvin and James, are adorably personable because of their lovable traits and genuine interaction. It's a great book for exploring the imagination about another world smaller than our own! And it touches on sensitive topics in a subtle and appropriate way, such as family issues.
Purposes:
Read aloud- This fan
...more
Anna Korroch
I thought that this was a very entertaining and creative story. I loved the idea of a boy befriending a tiny beetle and them going on many adventures together. I also enjoyed that there was a mixture of worlds and perspectives between the human world and the beetle world. I thought it was cute that Marvin and James became friends even though they could not verbally communicate with each other. I think that this story uses a good mix of humor and suspense to draw in the reader.

I think this book
...more
Anna Frame
PERSONAL REACTION
I loved this book. I would recommend it to everyone. Students will not want to put it down. The author does a great job of keeping the readers attention and the story takes turns that you would not predict. Marvin goes on so many adventures and it is a blast to be along side him for the experience. His artistic ability is incredible and I loved reading about him help his friend James.

PURPOSE/USE IN CLASSROOM
-this could be read as a group or independently (it could be fun as a gr
...more
Ingrid Fasquelle
Elise Broach est née en Géorgie aux États-Unis. Diplômée de la prestigieuse université américaine, Yale, elle enseigne un temps avant de se consacrer uniquement à l'éducation de ses enfants et à l'écriture.

Un drôle d'ami raconte l'histoire d'amitié hors normes entre James, un petit garçon timide, écrasé par une mère à l'ambition dévorante, et Marvin, un gentil petit cafard, qui a élu domicile avec le reste de sa famille sous l'évier de la cuisine.

Alors que la fête d'anniversaire de James est un
...more
Kaley Robinson
Masterpiece is about a roach, Marvin, who lives in a house where James's family lives. James gets an inset for his birthday and leaves it out on his desk because he wants to try it out to make his dad happy. While James is sleeping, Marvin begins to draw a picture for James when he wakes up. After a series of events, James and Marvin recover missing masterpieces and return to a normal bug and boy. One thing I liked about this book was that it was difficult to tell where the magic was. At times I ...more
Lynn
Very nice mystery with some interesting themes neatly woven into the story. Two youngsters, one a human named James and the other a beetle named Marvin join forces to prevent an art theft. Along the way they become friends, overcoming Marvin's inability to speak or write human. Both learn a lot about themselves and their abilities and form a lasting friendship.
Mary Louise Sanchez
For his eleventh birthday, James Pompaday receives a pen-and-ink set from his artist father who is divorced from his mother. James doesn't know what to do with the set but a beetle named Marvin, who lives in the Pompaday's New York City apartment, decides to give James a present of an original drawing using the ink. Everyone, except James, believes he drew the picture and is a gifted artist. Suddenly he's whisked off to the Metrapolitan Museum of Art to view Albrecht Durer's work, and is recruit ...more
Cheryl Klein
This book displays all of the virtues of a really well-written novel for children in the classical mode: an interesting story that shows young readers more of the world; simple, elegant writing; a child character who does things, doesn't just think about them; wisdom in its telling. A wonderful book.
Eowyn
This was really 3 1/2 and Walt liked it just fine, I just found it somewhat pedestrian. I did appreciate learning more about Albrecht Durer, but I think some of the detail about art and museums and art theft went over Walt's head. Still it was a fine read aloud, just nothing special.
Randy
Marvin is a beetle with a gift. He lives with his family in the walls of a New York City apartment, where one night he finds art supplies and discovers his artistic gift by drawing an amazing picture of the scene outside the window. While the boy, James, who lives in the apartment knows that it's Marvin's drawing, his parents think he's the artistic genius. Confusion over the identity of the true artist ends up leading James (with Marvin hidden up his sleever) to the Metropolitan Museum, where t ...more
Laura
Aquest llibre és una altra petita joia treta de la biblioteca, que no tenia massa clar si m'agradaria, però que m'ha sorprès enormement.

D'acord, és un llibre que es podria catalogar d'infantil, però té moltes coses que fan que el llibre el pugui llegir qualsevol adult.

La història ens l'explica un petit escarabat, en Marvin, que viu amb la seva família a la cuina de la família d'en James. Tota la història està explicada des del punt de vista d'en Marvin, que resulta ser un geni de la pintura i és
...more
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Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of children's books including Masterpiece, Shakespeare's Secret, Desert Crossing, Missing on Superstition Mountain (the first book in the Superstition Mountain Trilogy) as well as several picture books. Her books have been selected as ALA notable books, Junior Library Guild selections, a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book, a New York Public ...more
More about Elise Broach...
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“A person's birthday should be a special day, a wonderful day, a day of pure celebration for the luck of being born! ” 65 likes
“A great friendship was like a great work of art, he thought. It took time and attention, and a spark of something that was impossible to describe. It was a happy, lucky accident, finding some kindred part of yourself in a total stranger.” 18 likes
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