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

(Chasing Vermeer #3)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  6,117 ratings  ·  521 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
Hardcover, 379 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Scholastic Press
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Andrew McLaughlin I've been trying to figure this out for a bit, too, and it turns out the answer is FREE ART WISH. A lot of thinking to get, but worth it when you do!…moreI've been trying to figure this out for a bit, too, and it turns out the answer is FREE ART WISH. A lot of thinking to get, but worth it when you do!(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,117 ratings  ·  521 reviews

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May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-books
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
emily cameron
randomly felt like reading this book from my childhood yesterday lolol
Monica Edinger
Feb 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
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
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-childrens
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
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
Gwen the Librarian
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, kidlit
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
Warren Truitt
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: chapterbooks
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. ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I personally think it is the best book in the series.
Adam Griesbach
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good book and interesting. I think the theme just keeps going.
Tanya Stone
Feb 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: juv, mystery
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
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: readin2008
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
Cameron Martinez
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Calder Game is a good mystery book for any person age 10 or up, if you are under 10, you will probably not know what the book or settings are about. Blue Balliett does a good job at placing historical facts in a suspense.Some great parts are learning who some famous artists and learning about math tools. There is only one bad part, and that is the boring parts that lead up t the suspense. I think any kid above 10 who has a taste for suspense will enjoy this book. this book reminds me when I ...more
Genevieve Trainor
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a fondness for YA Lit
Shelves: favorites
I am a big enough dork that I picked this up partly because of Brett Helquist's illustrations, but mainly because of my own obsession with Alexander Calder. What I discovered was an homage to his work, crafted intricately, with humor, poise, and a wee bit of art education thrown in. I need to find more books by Balliett - it would seem that this is part of a series? References are made to other adventures (generic, not specific) had by the main characters, so I assume said adventures have been c ...more
Joy Gerbode
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
These books are a lot of fun ... mystery, puzzles, and kids having fun ... all while learning about art. This one also gave us a glimpse into life in England, and was fun, especially since I was there last year. I enjoyed this story, this puzzle very much ...
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is a great finale to this series. It is suspenseful and very exciting. The characters and plot are all very easy to follow and understand as well. I definitely recommend this book!
A nice enough read. It wouldn't shake the world or anything. ...more
Tori King
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Calder Game by Blue Balliett is an exciting mystery about three 6th graders, Calder, Tommy, and Petra, from Hyde Park, Chicago. When an exhibit from Alexander Calder, an artist and sculptor famous for his amazing mobiles, comes to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art the children are enthralled by the mobiles. Calder feels particularly drawn to the mobiles because he is named after Alexander Calder and his parents are big fans of the artist. Soon, Calder and his friends start seeing Calder ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I remember really enjoying the first two books (well, Chasing Vermeer at least, I don't remember much about Wright 3) when I was a kid, but I don't know if maybe the series just doesn't age well for adults. I did enjoy some aspects:

- the sense of suspense and mystery
- some of the mobile stuff
- the overall plot direction
- the tie-in with art (once again)
- Mrs. Sharpe

but a lot of other things took away from my enjoyment as well:

- the "England is just so weird and different and insular" thing was
Rebecca (ofliterarynature)
Normally if I'm binge-reading a series I wait until I've read them all to write a review, but I have to say something before the end!

The first book was incredibly quirky and clever and intelligent. I really enjoyed it! But my main complaint was that the pattern of coincidences they put together to solve the mystery absolutely would not hold up in the real world - it was unrealistic.

Well, by now in the third book, there's some vague muttering about patterns, a lot of chatter about 'art', and mo
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
In The Calder Game, Calder Pillay travels with his father to a Woodstock in England. He then becomes fascinated with a sculpture which coincidently had the last name Calder. On the same night Calder and the Statue are taken and suddenly disappear, leaving only his friends Petra and Tommy to find their best friend. This book is one in a sequel to The Wright 3, which was also mostly focused on mystery and preserving art. However, some of the clues in The Wright 3 seemed to appear out of nowhere. T ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I maybe liked this more than 3 stars.
I loved the trope of mobiles and shifting/unexpected combinations and perspectives, especially the dynamic relationship between the three friends, but also the question of how long it takes to belong.
The characters are always fun. I wish I had such a trio of self-directed weirdos in my life.
The plot felt a little odd, too reliant on the happenstance of mobile movements. I had a hard time imagining a whole host of grown-ups thought the best solution to a miss
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very good at making you want to read it, I would know. I’m usually very picky and need a good catcher to help bring me in and enjoy the book and this book did just that. I caught myself reading page after page day after day until I was met with the satisfaction of when I finally finished.
This book is about 3 children ,Calder, Tommy, and Petra, who all love a normal life , but when Calder take a trip to England he suddenly goes missing along with a famous sculpture, forcing Tommy an
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this as an audiobook with my youngest son. We both loved the narrator. The plot and the narration kept my 11-year-old engaged and wanting to listen to more all the way through the book. We also referenced the physical book to look at the pictures and other things in the book. I really enjoyed the author's style of writing, the same as with the previous two books by the same author that we've read.

Basic plot hints without spoilers: this is a book about art, about a stolen sculpture,
Chris Garth
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the 3rd installment in the adventures of a group of very smart, but quirky middle school students. They solve art crimes through adventures and a mindset that can only be seen through the eyes of a young one. The plot here is a little more sinister and ties the story of art together in a thoughtful and engaging style. When I finish one of Blue Balliett's books not only do I want to rush them into hands of students I encounter but I rush to google and see the images of the art on which he ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Authors can't hit it out of the ballpark each time, but this is a swing and a miss. Or maybe I should say a mess. Too much of the story/back-story is told to us- it felt like I was being lectured to. Balliett always had a tendency to do this, but it has become excessive in this book. Maybe she is so popular that editors can't point out the flaws. Only recommended for those that loved the earlier books and want to follow the characters, irrespective of the opacity of the writing. Didn't really li ...more
A young boy named Calder is named after a famous artist. His best friends do not like each other that much. He went to England with his father to see a rare piece of art by Alexander Calder, whilst he was admiring this art Calder met a young man and did not realize what would happen to him later. After only a few days in England he had gone missing. His problematic best friends had to work together to find him. The question is,did they find him?

I would recommend this book to someone who loves my
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
actually 3+

Honestly, I don't remember much of the second installment; but, I remember not liking it as much as the first. I think this, the third, is slightly better again, though I wondered most of the way through when I would have liked to read this—maybe at age 6? So, it mightn't appeal to precocious readers. Given that it's targeted to middle-graders, there's nothing exceedingly sinister in the content.

As another reviewer has noted, the series probably appeals more to Hyde Parkers more than
Katie Kaste
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a thrilling conclusion to the "Chasing Vermeer" series. Petra, Tommy, and Calder are back for one more adventure. This time Calder is on his own in England. When he goes missing it is up to Petra and Tommy to set aside their differences and work together. This group of kids finds a way to work together and save the day. I love the writing style of these books. This one was a little slower.than the other two, however I still enjoyed the book. I loved the character growth and adventure of ...more
Cheryl Olseth
May 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, young-reader
I originally read this with my children's book club 7 or 8 years ago. I remembered enjoying the focus on artists Banksy and Alexander Calder, thus the title. The story also incorporated information about the English West country including the Cotswold's and Blenheim Palace landmarks not far from my in-laws. I pulled it off the shelf, because during the COVID shelter-at-home order it seemed a perfect mystery, light yet well written novel. Even though the target audience is teens, I was not disapp ...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

Other books in the series

Chasing Vermeer (4 books)
  • Chasing Vermeer (Chasing Vermeer, #1)
  • The Wright 3 (Chasing Vermeer, #2)
  • Pieces and Players (Chasing Vermeer, #4)

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