Sue Leatherman's Reviews > Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
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Raining Frogs, Secret Codes, a Lost Vermeer Painting, and Pentominoes – What Do They Have in Common?

Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee, students of Ms Hussey’s sixth grade class, discover that many strange things are happening around their neighborhood and that their teacher, Ms. Hussy, seems to be involved!

A valuable Vermeer painting disappears and then Calder’s friend, Tommy, sends a secret coded message to Calder about another strange disappearance. Before they know it, Calder and Petra are drawn into a tangled web of clues that baffles even the FBI.

I love Ms. Balliet’s powerful descriptions of people, places, and events in this story! She challenges the reader to dig deep and learn about the missing art treasure. Who is Vermeer? What is an art forgery? Ms. Balliet invites the reader to solve the secret codes and even suggests that Calder’s pentominoes have a certain quality of intuition.

Just like the famous detectives Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, Calder and Petra must use their powers of intuition and problem-solving skills to help them decipher this mysterious puzzle. Each clue leads to more questions and only by reading to the very end of the story will the entire mystery be solved. “The game is afoot!”
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