Thursday, January 01, 2009

"The wind came up and changed us all.."

The setting is the start.The story hangs from that hook,and the characters move slowly around one another.

Each piece has its own shape and size.

The characters think they see the wires that connect them.

But that isn't possible.

Or is it?

Who makes the rules?

I was thinking the other day about how I have chosen to limit myself to a certain genre of books, namely children's or young readers. I don't know if this comes from my adoration of children's literature or if my feelings towards reading being a hobby lean me towards books I want to read to be pure and simple entertainment. I read for pure enjoyment. I must also add that my local library is I was rather spoiled when living in Holladay. The library was walking distance - the librarians knew me by name - and I could transfer anything I wanted from another library. WONDERFUL! With our local library being so small all the books I wan to to read are currently being devoured by another faithful patron. But enough excuses, this year I will be expounding my reading bubble!

:: on with the review ::

I knew I would love this series from the moment I read the authors name - Blue Balliett. The first book "Chasing Vermeer" was an instant love of mine. As was the second, "The Wright Three". The author brings in my first love of books - a good mystery. Then adds art and puzzles. I think as children we all hope to have that great adventure, solve the unsolvable mystery, travel to far off places, and meet interesting people.

The three kids, Petra, Tommy and Calder, solve mysteries involving great works of art—but each time Blue Blliett varies the art form, so that each novel feels different. All three novels are action-packed, but they are also information-packed, offering intriguing details about the art and artist, and challenging readers with intellectual questions and brain-teasing clues. The illustrator, Brett Helquist, has cleverly hidden clues among his drawings, another pulling point.

The way she has written her novels is creative in the way that you don't necessarily have to read the previous books to understand what is happening with the characters. You can tell Blue Balliett has a love for each character as you read and discover the depth of each one. They seem to be planned out from birth, histories and ideas from their earliest years are present through out the story. This for me adds so much to a book. They are real. They have lived.

The story starts out with the three visiting a Calder exhibit - and artist for which the character Calder has been named. It gets the three thinking about things in a different way, in a Calder way. They begin to play the Calder Game. Calder being a real artist, of course, makes you want to find out more about him and his work. I believe this is what children's books should do for the reader, get them interested in something, learn when they don't think they are learning! I know I took some time to look up Calder and Balansky.

Calder has the opportunity to travel to Woodstock, England, with his dad, who is attending a conference. It just so happens that in this town a giant Calder sculpture has mysteriously appeared in the square. And Woodstock is the home of Blenheim Palace, which has a maze, so the stage is set for excitement. Calder has lots of free time to explore this new place while his dad attends meetings each day.

Before long, the Calder sculpture disappears just as mysteriously as it appeared, and young Calder also goes missing. Petra and Tommy are summoned to England to try to help find him—along with the police, of course.

The story moves swiftly, and keeps you in the game! You (or your child) will not be disappointed in this new art mystery book by Blue Balliett!

2 observations:

Heather said...

anytime you guys want her, she can come down. She'd love to sleep over.

Alicia said...

I love how passionate you are about books. I'm starting to be that way, but I am drawn more toward older books. I want to be made to think. Did you know I am writing a novel? It's finally coming along and I am way excited about it. Great review!