chasing vermeer

We definitely can’t forget about the little ghouls and boys so close to Halloween and I have a cute YA mystery–Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett–for those special young-in-age or young-at-heart in your life.

Neighbors Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee attend the University School, a middle school set on the edge of the University of Chicago campus.  The students are constantly challenged by their sixth grade teacher Ms. Hussey to learn by trying to answer the questions that they themselves have.  When Ms. Hussey starts asking them odd questions about art and a famous Vermeer is stolen en route to a new exhibition space, Calder and Petra team up to track down the painting, through a seemingly random set of patterns, and save Ms. Hussey.

One of the quirks that makes this book so fun is the illustrations scattered throughout and the puzzle in the beginning that has the reader searching for clues within the pictures.  In addition, Chasing Vermeer touches on real life circumstances that kids face today with a guiding but never presumptuous manner–Calder and Petra’s mixed nationalities, bullying at school, and making new friends.  And most importantly, Chasing Vermeer reminds us of the magic in our lives, at any age.

The patterns and coincidences in your life may not be random and could lead to something incredibly wonderful.

And finally, (I won’t call it a coincidence) the quote that Balliett includes in the beginning of the book summarizes the theme of her storytelling…

One can’t learn much and

also be comfortable.

One can’t learn much and

let anybody else be comfortable.

– Charles Fort, Wild Talents