Monica Edinger's Reviews > The Calder Game

The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
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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 communicates information about Calder without being heavy-handed. Impressively she provides energy and action as the kids visit a museum exhibit and otherwise learn more about this artist.

I also think Balliett, a former teacher, does a nice job further developing the relationships between her three child characters: Calder, Petra, and Tommy. Children will easily connect to the forced intimacy Petra and Tommy experience as they search for their missing friend.

However, I was disappointed with the mystery aspects of the story. A good mystery, to my mind, is full of red herrings, clues, and intriguing leads to the final solution. With a good mystery, once I learn who did it I am either pleased because my suppositions were accurate or pleasantly surprised because the author has done such a great job playing with me, the reader. Neither happened when I got to the end of this book; frustratingly, it is a weak and unsatisfying solution (as in the previous books there is a deux ex machina situation and coincidences --- won't say more for fear of spoilage). Mind you, it IS satisfying in terms of the kids' relationships and Calder's with his dad, just not in terms of the mystery itself.

So come to this book to engage with Alexander Calder,spend some time in England, to see how a couple of kids who don't particularly like each other learn to at least respect each other,to watch a father and son reconnect, and to experience some exciting moments and drama if not a particularly developed mystery.
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Reading Progress

February 23, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
April 6, 2008 – Shelved as: finished-reading
April 6, 2008 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Mary Lee (new)

Mary Lee Oooh! A new one by Blue Balliett! Is it out yet? Can't wait to hear what you think!

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