Kathy's Reviews > Masterpiece

Masterpiece by Elise Broach
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Jan 11, 2012

Masterpiece by Elise Broach
Grant Rohrmann
The book I read was Masterpiece, by Elise Broach. Masterpiece is about a beetle named Marvin who draws really good pictures. He lives in the cupboard of the Pompaday Family’s kitchen with his whole entire family. Marvin has a friend named James Pompaday who is an eleven-year old boy. On his birthday James gets an art set from his father and Marvin uses it to draw a picture of the street outside of the house. When James’s mom sees it she thinks James painted it and shows it to everyone. James can’t tell anyone the truth because no one will believe a beetle can paint. James’s father Karl takes him to the Metropolitan Museum to see real art by an artist named Albrecht Durer. Marvin goes with them. Karl’s friend Denny and a woman named Christina who works at the museum see them there. Karl shows Marvin’s picture to Christina and she thinks it is really good. She asks James to draw a copy of the Durer painting that is on display called Fortitude. While Karl and Christina have coffee Marvin draws a copy of Fortitude because Marvin is the real artist. Fortitude is one of four Virtue paintings by Durer. The three others have been stolen. Christina has a plan to get them back. She wants the copy of Fortitude so it can be stolen instead of the real one and then they can find out who is stealing the paintings. Something goes wrong and the real Fortitude gets stolen. James and Marvin go on an adventure to find out who the thief is. In the end Denny is the thief and all four paintings get returned to the museum.
The main characters are James Terik and Marvin the Beetle. James is a sweet boy whose best friend is a beetle. James’s parents are divorced. He lives with his mom, stepfather and his baby brother William. James is not popular but he plays with his baby brother a lot. He isn’t the favorite child until his mother thinks he can paint masterpieces. He explains it to Marvin when he says, “The thing is, she’s so proud of me, you know? That’s not how she is usually. And it’s not even for something I did – it’s for something you did.” (168) Marvin is a beetle who is the only one who can swim in his family. He has a very big family who love him very much. They worry about him a lot when he isn’t there for dinner. When he comes back from his adventure he says, “He was beginning to understand that some of the most irritating things his family did stemmed from the depth of their love. And suddenly it felt wonderful to be worried and fussed over…” (267). Marvin’s best friend is a human named James. He is a very talented artist and helps James in tough situations. He follows James a lot and is very loyal.
The main problem in the story is that all of Durer’s Virtue paintings have been stolen except one. Christina Balcony at the Metropolitan wants all the paintings back. She wants to use the Fortitude painting to catch the thief. She needs the help of James and Marvin. Marvin’s painting looks exactly like Durer’s. He is the only one who can make an almost perfect copy. When the real one is stolen anyway everyone is very upset. Marvin stays with the real painting and never leaves it. He is the only one who knows where the painting is. Together Marvin and James bring all the paintings back to the museum. They find out that Denny, a friend, is the thief. No one can believe it. In the end the paintings go up in the museum together and Denny disappears.
I like this book and would recommend it to anybody who likes suspense when they read. I like this book because of the action in it and how the characters found the paintings and resolved the problem. My favorite part of the book is when Elaine, Marvin’s cousin, falls into the turtle tank and Marvin has to rescue her. I like this part because Elaine ends up saving Marvin and has to learn how to swim.


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