4.4 116
by Elise Broach, Kelly Murphy

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Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays' apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy.After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and


Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays' apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy.After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can't go through with the plan without Marvin's help. And that's where things get really complicated (and interesting!). This fast-paced mystery will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.

In Shakespeare's Secret Elise Broach showed her keen ability to weave storytelling with history and suspense, and Masterpiece is yet another example of her talent. This time around it's an irresistible miniature world, fascinating art history, all wrapped up in a special friendship— something for everyone to enjoy.

Masterpiece is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Inventive ... Broach ... packs this fast-moving story with perennially seductive themes: hidden lives and secret friendships, miniature worlds lost to disbelievers ... Broach and Kelly show readers something new.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Delightful intricacies of beetle life ... blend seamlessly with the suspenseful caper as well as the sentimental story of a complicated-but-rewarding friendship ... Murphy's charming pen-and-ink drawings populate the short chapters of this funny, winsome novel.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This marvelous story is sure to be a hit.” —School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

With overtones of Chasing Vermeer and The Borrowers, this inventive mystery involves two families that inhabit the same Manhattan apartment: the Pompadays-a slick, materialistic couple, their infant son and thoughtful James, from the wife's previous marriage-and a family of beetles, who live behind the kitchen sink and watch sympathetically as James's charms go unappreciated. Careful though the beetles are to stay hidden, boy beetle Marvin crosses the line, tempted by a pen-and-ink set James receives for his 11th birthday. Marvin draws an intricate picture and then identifies himself to a delighted James as the artist. Before James can hide Marvin's picture, Mrs. Pompaday loudly proclaims her son's talent and even James's laid-back artist dad compares the work with the drawings of Albrecht Dürer. A trip to a Dürer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art follows, James stowing Marvin in a pocket; before long a curator is asking James to forge a Dürer miniature of Fortitude as part of an elaborate plan to catch an art thief (can a tiny virtue defeat big lies?).

Broach (Shakespeare's Secret) packs this fast-moving story with perennially seductive themes: hidden lives and secret friendships, miniature worlds lost to disbelievers. Philosophy pokes through, as does art appreciation (one curator loves Dürer for "his faith that beauty reveals itself, layer upon layer, in the smallest moments"), but never at the expense of plot. In her remarkable ability to join detail with action, Broach is joined by Murphy (Hush, Little Dragon), who animates the writing with an abundance of b&w drawings. Loosely implying rather than imitating theOld Masters they reference, the finely hatched drawings depict the settings realistically and the characters, especially the beetles, with joyful comic license. This smart marriage of style and content bridges the gap between the contemporary beat of the illustrations and Renaissance art. Broach and Kelly show readers something new, and, as Marvin says, "When you [see] different parts of the world, you [see] different parts of yourself." Ages 8-13. (Sept.)

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KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Although some readers may be put off by a story about a beetle and a boy, this is a great mystery for young adolescents. The main character is Marvin, a beetle who lives with his family inside the home of James, his mother, stepfather and baby brother. On James's birthday, his biological father, an artist, gives him an ink set. Marvin, though, is the one who has artistic talent and he uses James's pens to draw a tiny miniature as a gift to the 11-year-old. James's father is thrilled that "his son" seems to have followed in his artistic footsteps and takes James on a trip to the art museum to see famous miniatures drawn by Albrecht Durer. Through a series of coincidences, James and Marvin are introduced to the world of stolen artwork and it will take all of their ingenuity to return the art and capture the thief, while covering up the fact that it is not James who draws, but the little black beetle. Marvin is a great little character, with much curiosity and talent. He and his family live off the crumbs and scraps left behind in the house. James is a quiet boy caught in a divorce and trying to find his own identity. He doesn't know how to explain the prized miniature that thrusts him into his mother's spotlight. The friendship between the two characters is believable and is a major theme as the two seek to help and support one another. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Children's Literature - Sharon Oliver
Broach, with two successful juvenile novels behind her, presents a third sure hit with mystery readers. Marvin is a beetle who lives with his family under the kitchen sink of the Pompaday family, Mrs. Pompaday, her son James, his little brother, and his stepfather, Mr. Pompaday. When James receives a drawing kit from his artist father on his birthday, Marvin sneaks in for a closer look and discovers he has a talent for drawing. When the adults think James is responsible for the remarkable drawing, he gets caught up in a plan to fake a famous Albrecht Durer drawing in an elaborate plot to catch a thief. Unfortunately, things go awry and the real drawing is stolen instead. Marvin manages to stay with the painting and tries to get back to his friend James to recover the famous artwork. Aside from a couple of wandering sub plots, this is a great mystery and a rousing adventure. Through it all, James and Marvin learn quite a bit about art, people, and taking credit for work that is not your own. This is a wonderful addition to juvenile fiction collections and is sure to be hit with fans of Broach's previous novels as well as new readers. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Elise Broach's novel (Holt, 2008) is the story of a beetle named Marvin who lives under the kitchen sink in a New York City apartment, and his friendship with James Pompaday, a human boy. Marvin feels sorry for James, whose mother never seems to have anything nice to say about him. After an unpleasant 11th birthday party, Marvin decides to do something nice for James. He uses the ink from a pen-and-ink set that the boy received for his birthday to draw a miniature of the scene outside of the boy's bedroom window. Mrs. Pompaday sees the drawing and thinks her son is the artist. Soon James finds himself being compared to Albrecht Durer, the famous Renaissance artist, and becomes involved in a plot to help the Metropolitan Museum of Art recover several Durer masterpieces that have been stolen. Jeremy Davidson skillfully portrays the various characters, easily transitioning between their voices. This marvelous story is sure to be a hit with middle school students.-Kathy Miller, Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin City, KS

Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old James Terik isn't particularly appreciated in the Pompaday household. Marvin, a beetle who lives happily with his "smothering, overinvolved relatives" behind the Pompadays' kitchen sink, has observed James closely and knows he's something special even if the boy's mother and stepfather don't. Insect and human worlds collide when Marvin uses his front legs to draw a magnificent pen-and-ink miniature for James's birthday. James is thrilled with his tiny new friend, but is horrified when his mother sees the beetle's drawing and instantly wants to exploit her suddenly special son's newfound talents. The web further tangles when the Metropolitan Museum of Art enlists James to help catch a thief by forging a miniature in the style of Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer. Delightful intricacies of beetle life-a cottonball bed, playing horseshoes with staples and toothpicks-blend seamlessly with the suspenseful caper as well as the sentimental story of a complicated-but-rewarding friendship that requires a great deal of frantic leg-wiggling on Marvin's part. Murphy's charming pen-and-ink drawings populate the short chapters of this funny, winsome novel. (author's note) (Fantasy. 10-14)

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Age Range:
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Read an Excerpt


By Elise Broach, Kelly Murphy

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2008 Elise Broach
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-8508-6


A Family Emergency

Home, for Marvin's family, was a damp corner of the cupboard beneath the kitchen sink. Here, a leaking pipe had softened the plaster and caused it to crumble away. Just behind the wall, Marvin's family had hollowed out three spacious rooms, and, as his parents often remarked, it was a perfect location. It was warm, because of the hot-water pipes embedded in the wall; moist, to make burrowing easy; and dark and musty, like all the other homes the family had lived in. Best of all, the white plastic wastebasket that loomed on one side offered a constant litter of apple cores, bread crumbs, onion skins, and candy wrappers, making the cupboard an ideal foraging ground.

Marvin and his relatives were beetles. They had shiny black shells, six legs, and excellent night vision. They were medium-sized, as beetles go, not much bigger than a raisin. But they were very agile: good at climbing walls, scurrying across countertops, and slipping under closed doors. They lived in the large apartment of a human family, the Pompadays, in New York City.

One morning, Marvin awoke to find the household in an uproar. Usually the first sounds of the day were the gentle rustlings of his parents in the next room and, in the distance, the clank of pots in the Pompaday kitchen sink. But today he heard the frantic clicking of Mrs. Pompaday's high heels, and her voice, anxious and shrill. Just as he was beginning to wonder what had happened, his mother came looking for him in a great hurry.

"Marvin!" she cried. "Come quickly, darling! We have an emergency."

Marvin crawled out of the soft cotton ball that was his bed and, still only half-awake, followed her into the living room. There, his father, his uncle Albert, and his cousin Elaine were deep in conversation. Elaine ran to him and grabbed one of his legs.

"Mrs. Pompaday has lost her contact lens! Down the bathroom sink! And since you're the only one who knows how to swim, we need you to fish it out!"

Marvin drew back in surprise, but his cousin continued happily. "Oh! What if you drown?"

Marvin was not nearly as thrilled at this prospect as Elaine. "I won't drown," he said firmly. "I'm a good swimmer."

He'd practiced swimming for almost a month now, in an old juice bottle cap filled with water. He was the only member of his entire family who could swim, a skill his parents both marveled at and took credit for.

"Marvin has exceptional coordination, such fine control over his legs," Mama often remarked. "It reminds me of my days in the ballet."

"When he sets his mind to something, there's no stopping him," Papa would add smugly. "He's a chip off the old block."

But right now, these words were little comfort to Marvin. Swimming in a bottle cap was one thing — it was half an inch deep. Swimming inside a drainpipe was something else altogether. He paced the room nervously.

Mama was talking to Uncle Albert, looking mad. "Well, I should think not!" she exclaimed. "He's just a child. I say let the Pompadays call a plumber."

Papa shook his head. "It's too risky. If a plumber goes poking around in there, he'll see that the wall is rotting away. He'll say they need to replace it, and that'll be the end of Albert and Edith's home."

Uncle Albert nodded vigorously and beckoned to Marvin. "Marvin, my boy, what do you say? You'll have to go down the bathroom pipe and find that contact lens. Think you can handle it?"

Marvin hesitated. Mama and Papa were still arguing. Now Papa looked at him unhappily. "I'd go myself, son — you know I would — if I could swim."

"No one can swim like Marvin," Elaine declared. "But even Marvin may not be able to swim well enough. There's probably a lot of water in that pipe by now. Who knows how far down he'll have to go?" She paused dramatically. "Maybe he'll never make it back up to the surface."

"Hush, Elaine," said Uncle Albert.

Marvin grabbed the fragment of peanut shell that he used as a float when he swam in his own pool at home. He took a deep breath.

"I can try, at least," he said to his parents. "I'll be careful."

"Then I'm going with you," Mama decided, "to make sure you aren't foolhardy. And if it looks the least bit dangerous, we won't risk it."

And so they set off for the Pompadays' bathroom, with Uncle Albert leading the way. Marvin followed close behind his mother, the peanut shell tucked awkwardly under one of his legs.


Down the Drain

It took them a fair bit of time to reach the bathroom. First they had to crawl out of the cupboard into the bright morning light of the Pompadays' kitchen. There, baby William was banging on his high chair with a spoon, scattering Cheerios all over the floor. Ordinarily, the beetles might have waited in the shadows to snatch one and carry it off for lunch, but today there were more important tasks ahead. They scuttled along the baseboard to the living room, and then began the exhausting journey over the Oriental rug, which at least was dark blue, so they didn't have to worry about being seen.

All the way to the bathroom, Marvin could hear Mr. and Mrs. Pompaday yelling at each other.

"I don't understand why you can't just take the pipe apart and find it," Mrs. Pompaday complained. "That's what Karl would have done." Karl was Mrs. Pompaday's first husband.

"You take the pipe apart and find it. And flood the bathroom. Then we'll have to replace more than your contact lens," Mr. Pompaday fumed. He stomped to the phone. "I'm calling a plumber."

"Oh, fine," said Mrs. Pompaday. "He'll take all day to get here. I have to leave for work in twenty minutes, and I won't be able to find my way to the door without my contact lenses."

James, Mrs. Pompaday's son from her first marriage, stood in the doorway. He was ten years old, a thin boy with big feet, serious gray eyes, and a scattering of freckles across his cheeks. He would be eleven tomorrow, and Marvin and his family had been trying to think of something nice to do for his birthday, since they infinitely preferred him to the rest of the Pompaday family. He was quiet and reasonable, unlikely to make sudden movements or raise his voice.

Seeing him now, Marvin remembered how James had caught sight of him once, a few weeks ago, when Marvin was dragging home an M&M he'd found for the family dessert. Marvin had been so excited about his good luck that he'd forgotten to stay close to the baseboard. There he was, out in the open sea of cream-colored tile in the kitchen, when James's blue sneaker stopped alongside him. Marvin panicked, dropped the M&M, and ran for his life. But James only crouched down and watched him, never saying a word.

Marvin hadn't told his parents about that particular close call. He'd vowed to himself that he'd be more careful in the future.

Now James shifted thoughtfully on those same blue sneakers. "You could wear your glasses, Mom," he said.

"Oh, fine," said Mrs. Pompaday. "Wear my glasses. Fine. I guess it doesn't matter what I look like when I meet clients. Maybe I should just go to work in my bathrobe."

By this time, Uncle Albert, Marvin, and his mother had reached the door of the bedroom, and the bathroom lay just beyond. Unfortunately, the three humans were effectively blocking the route. Three jittery pairs of feet — one in sneakers, one in high heels, and one in loafers — made it hard to find a safe path.

"Stay close to me," Mama told Marvin. She hurried along the door frame. Dodging the spikes of Mrs. Pompaday's heels, Marvin and Uncle Albert followed.

They made it up the bathroom wall to the sink without mishap. Normally, the light tile would have made them easy targets for a rolled-up newspaper or the bottom of a slipper.

But the Pompadays were so engrossed in their argument that they didn't notice three shiny black beetles scrambling onto the sink.

"I'll keep a lookout," Uncle Albert said. "You two go ahead."

Marvin and his mother tumbled and slid down the smooth side of the sink to the drain. They ducked under the silver stopper and stood on the edge of the open pipe, staring into blackness.

Marvin could hear a distant trickling sound. As his eyes adjusted, he saw water, murky and uninviting, a few inches below. He thought of Cousin Elaine's grim prediction and shuddered. Why hadn't his mother taken a firmer stand against this?

"Well ... here I go," he said to Mama, who promptly grabbed his leg and held fast.

"Now don't do anything rash, darling," she told him. "Go slowly, and come right back to me if it seems dangerous."

"Okay," Marvin promised. He clutched his peanut-shell float and took a deep breath. Then he launched himself into the void.

He barely remembered to shut his eyes before the cold water closed over his head. Pedaling his legs frantically, he came bobbing back up to the surface. The cloudy water tasted vaguely of toothpaste. It smelled horrible.

"Marvin? Marvin, are you all right?" Mama's voice echoed thinly in the pipe.

"I'm fine," he called back.

He swam through the scummy water, which was littered with every nasty thing that might wash down a human's drain: bits of food, hair, slivers of soap. He wanted to throw up.

"Do you see it yet?" his mother called.

"No," Marvin answered. He suddenly realized he had no idea what a contact lens looked like.

Then, as he was about to turn back, he did see something: a thin plastic disc, stuck to the side of the pipe. It looked just like the fruit bowl Mama used at home. Out of breath, he shot back up to the surface.

"I found it, Mama!" he yelled.

"Oh, good, darling." His mother breathed a sigh of relief. "Now we'd better hurry, before someone turns on the faucet and washes us both away."

Marvin discovered he couldn't hold on to the contact lens and the peanut shell at the same time. Reluctantly, he let go of his float, took a deep breath, and plunged under the water again.

In the distance, he heard his mother cry, "Marvin! Your float!" But he moved his legs swiftly, unburdened by the peanut shell, and glided down through the dark water. He swam straight to the contact lens and clasped it with his front two legs. Pulling it away from the side of the pipe, he shot quickly back to the surface. Through the lens, he could see his mother, wavy and distorted, looming above him. She'd crawled down the side of the pipe to the water's edge, beckoning to him.

"Oh, Marvin, thank heavens. You are a wonder, darling. What leg control. I wish my old ballet crowd could see you." She took the lens from him. "Whew! The water smells positively vile. And what a fuss over this little thing! Why, it looks exactly like my fruit bowl."

Holding it gingerly on her back, Mama crawled up the pipe. She scooted under the stopper, with Marvin close behind her, and together they dragged the lens up the side of the sink.

Uncle Albert rushed down to meet them. "By George, you've done it!" he cried. "Marvin, my boy, you're a hero! A hero! Wait till I tell your aunt Edith!"

Marvin beamed modestly. He flexed his legs and shook them dry.

"Let's see, where shall we put it?" Mama asked.

They looked around. "By the faucet, maybe," Marvin suggested. "That way, it won't get washed down the drain again."

They placed the lens near the hot-water handle and dashed behind a green water glass just as James walked into the bathroom.

"After all this trouble, they'd better find it," Mama whispered grimly. Marvin kept his eyes on the contact lens. It glistened in the morning light, a faint blue color.

They could hear Mr. Pompaday on the phone with the plumber. "What's that? Oh, okay, I'll look." He bellowed, "James! Are you in the bathroom? Make yourself useful. Are the pipes in there copper or galvanized steel?"

James stood at the sink. "I don't know," he said. "But, Mom, I found your contact lens. It's right here by the faucet."

And then what a commotion: Mrs. Pompaday rushing into the bathroom in disbelief, Mr. Pompaday loudly apologizing to the plumber, and James lifting the contact lens in his outstretched palm.

"Well, I guess that's that," Mama said to Marvin as soon as the bathroom emptied. "We'd better head back and let your father know you're all right."

So Mama, Uncle Albert, and Marvin ambled home, where everyone greeted them joyfully. Papa, Aunt Edith, and Elaine all patted Marvin on his shell, but nobody wanted to hug him. He was wet and slimy, and smelled overpoweringly of the drain water.

"I think I need a bath," Marvin said.

And then Mama and Papa fussed over him, filling the bottle cap with warm water and adding a single grain of turquoise dishwashing detergent. Marvin sank into the bubbles and floated in the pool to his heart's content, until he was shiny and clean again.


The Birthday Party

The next day was Saturday, James's birthday. There was to be a party, a large one, and the Pompadays' dining room was festooned with streamers and balloons. As Marvin and his parents foraged for breakfast under the kitchen table, they listened to the plans.

"I don't want those boys eating in the living room," Mrs. Pompaday told James. "Make sure they stay at the table when it's time for the cake."

"But, Mom," James said. "I can't tell them what to do. They're not even my friends."

William banged deafeningly on his high-chair tray with a spoon and crowed at James. "Ya ya! Ya ya!" From what Marvin could tell, this was the word for James in William's very limited but forceful language.

"What a big boy you are!" Mrs. Pompaday crooned, wiping the baby's face with a washcloth. She turned to James. "What do you mean they're not your friends? Why, the Fentons live right upstairs. You see Max every day."

James sighed.

"They're very important clients of mine, the Fentons. I've gotten several referrals from them, and you know, that's the heart of my business. Word of mouth." Below the table, Mama and Papa looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "So I hope you'll treat Max nicely, dear," Mrs. Pompaday continued.

Mama shook her head, whispering, "Clients! Will he have a single one of his own friends at the party?" she asked.

"Of course not," Papa replied.

Marvin had seen enough of Mrs. Pompaday's parties to know that his parents were right. Whatever the occasion, the guest list was always a loose assemblage of people she worked with or wanted to work with, and for the entire party Mrs. Pompaday would float fawningly from one person to the next, confiding self-important tips about the Manhattan real estate market.

Mrs. Pompaday plucked William from the high chair and said encouragingly, "We're having a magician, remember? You know how you love magic, James."

James hesitated. "Mom ... don't you think that's the kind of thing people have at a little kid's party?"

"Nonsense, dear. Everyone loves magicians. They're like clowns."

Marvin personally hated clowns, which he had seen in abundance on television because Mr. Pompaday had an odd fascination with the circus. Clowns struck Marvin as scary and untrustworthy, with their painted faces and exaggerated expressions, always trying to get strangers to laugh.

The beetles had learned most of what they knew about the outside world from the Pompadays' endless stream of television shows. Mrs. Pompaday's favorites were hospital dramas or soap operas, while Mr. Pompaday preferred long documentaries on obscure topics. James liked cartoons, which Marvin found colorful and quite satisfying, especially when they featured a heroic or particularly energetic insect. The best thing about television in the Pompaday household was that the Pompadays tended to snack while they watched their shows, so the beetles could count on a veritable smorgasbord of popcorn kernels, raisins, and potato-chip crumbs at the end of the evening.

Marvin watched James, who was jiggling a sneaker. "Mom," James said, "do you think Dad will come?"

"I don't know, James. He said he'd try. But it's going to be a wonderful party, you'll see!" Mrs. Pompaday swept over and kissed the top of his head. "Stop moping. It's your birthday! Come help me with the goody bags."


Excerpted from Masterpiece by Elise Broach, Kelly Murphy. Copyright © 2008 Elise Broach. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Inventive ... Broach ... packs this fast-moving story with perennially seductive themes: hidden lives and secret friendships, miniature worlds lost to disbelievers ... Broach and Kelly show readers something new."

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "Delightful intricacies of beetle life ... blend seamlessly with the suspenseful caper as well as the sentimental story of a complicated-but-rewarding friendship ... Murphy’s charming pen-and-ink drawings populate the short chapters of this funny, winsome novel."

Kirkus Reviews "This marvelous story is sure to be a hit."

School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of Masterpiece, Shakespeare’s Secret and Desert Crossing, Missing on Superstition Mountain, the first book in the Superstition Mountain Trilogy, as well as several picture books. Her books have been selected as ALA notable books, Junior Library Guild selections, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book, a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teenage, an IRA Teacher’s Choice, an E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and nominated for an Edgar Award, among other distinctions. Ms. Broach holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University. She was born in Georgia and lives in the woods of rural Connecticut, walking distance from three farms, a library, a post office and two country stores.

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Masterpiece 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 116 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I hope evey one reads it! It is about a boy named James and a beetle named Marvin, who are best friends when Marvin makes James a pitchure of the outside of his window.... Well i don't want to tell any more so u just hae to read it. ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a total page turner and captures you into the story and keeps you wandering. I would reccomend this book as a Grade 4-5 kind of book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When a beetle named Marvin draws a picture for a boy named james as a birthday gift, the 2 of them meet,and become a funny pair. But when everyone thinks that James is the amazing artist, James and Marvin get tangled up in an odd mystrly.( sorry if I spelled mystry wrong) This great book is filled with fun and suprises that are sure to keep you on your toes!
Amy D'Alton More than 1 year ago
Just like the title,the book was a masterpeice : )
Pillboss More than 1 year ago
My 8yo son just finished this book and loved it. He found it adventurous.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
Masterpiece by Elise Broach is a delightful story of the unlikely friendship that develops between a lonely young boy named James and a beetle named Marvin. In the tradition of E. B. White's Charlotte's Web and The Trumpet of the Swan, Broach takes this human/insect encounter out of the wild and into New York City, where Marvin lives with his parents and other relatives behind a kitchen cupboard in James's home.

The two characters meet when Marvin draws an ink rendition of the skyline outside James's window as a birthday present. When everyone thinks that James is the artist, of course he can't tell them who really drew what's being hailed as a masterpiece. The two are drawn into a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where officials hope to recover previously stolen masterpieces by a well known artist from the early Renaissance.

You'll happily follow the adventures as the two work to unravel the complications of their deception while they learn the true value of art and friendship. The publisher, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, also features an excellent companion discussion guide on its Web site,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it so quikly
BUSYMom10 More than 1 year ago
This book is GREAT!!! I purchased this book for my 10 year old son for his Nook, at his request. His 4th grade teacher had recommended this book to her class and for good reason. My son reads this story to me just before bed time, and I must say it is a very creative story that we are both enjoying very much!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good for any age!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in second grade in 2009 i think. Found it again three years later an i still liked it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I recomend it
ktpete More than 1 year ago
Best book
David Rubitski More than 1 year ago
This book is a cool page turning book! And its super fun to read! If you like nutmegs and you live in CT this is a 2011 nutmeg! so if you want to read all ten before 2012......GET READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Masterpiece!  Masterpiece by Elise Broach, belongs to a special category. The book is a top 20 Bluestem book of 2015-2016, which is voted by kids. Kelly Murphy's illustration help with Broach's writing.          The book is about how there was a family of beetles living in a water-softened wall of the Pompaday's Upper East Side kitchen. The beetle family help the Pompaday's do work, such as find the mother of the Pompaday's family contact lenses and fixing their microwave. On every Tuesday, the family of beetles takes a family outing when the maid comes. My favorite character is Marvin, which is 1 of the 2 main characters. I like how he is a everyday sneaky beetle that soon turns into this full of curiosity beetle that wants to leave the apartment that he lives in.         One day it was the Pompaday's oldest son James’s birthday. The mother of the Pompaday's first husband came to give James his birthday present. It was a paint set, but he wasn't even into drawing! When the beetle family remembered James' birthday, the beetle family wanted to give something to James. They went in the mother's jewelry box to find a coin.           The next day when the Pompaday's were getting ready for church, Marvin, a beetle of the family, rolled the coin to James' room for his birthday present. While he was in the room he saw the paint set on James's desk. He painted a picture of the view outside the window. He was doing the finishing touches when James' woke up from bed. When James saw the painting he was astonished. He kept on saying who did this? When Marvin heard that he stepped out from his hiding spot and showed himself. After James realized he painted the picture, he was shocked. When the James’s family saw the painting, they thought James painted it and loved it. And that's how the story "Masterpiece" gets under way. This is a book that really soaks you in like a sponge after getting to the near middle of the story. I had to read it and I thought it was going to be one of those boring books, but as I went on I didn't want to check the clock or brush a bug off of me. I felt like I was in the book doing the actions of the words I was reading. I guarantee you if you're at a minimum of middle school and a maximum of a young adult, you are going to adore this lovely story. *4th grade student
Anonymous 13 days ago
A small, dark, musky old cave. Very uncomfortable. Vines around the outside, and rocks jut out inside.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Great book and you should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My boyfriend is in 11 grade at Pius X highschool and im in10 grade at Pius. His name is Thomas! Cute I know! He playes soccer and basecetball! He is 6 fet 5 in! Were perfect he has 7 siblins and I have 12 siblins. Dirty blonde hair and brawn eyes. I have had a crush on him sence I was 4. my family has know them a long time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand 3 times then repost this 3 times then Look under your pilow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gumm More than 1 year ago
'Masterpiece' by Elise Broach is a story about a boy who discovers the cockroach family living in his house has a son who harbors an amazing skill that no other insect can do -- drawing. But, it isn't just drawing, Marvin makes amazing pen and ink paintings, so much that he (or rather, James) is offered to remake a famous painting to prevent attempts to steal other artworks. As a cockroach, Marvin cannot tell James that the painting about to be stolen is the real one. This book, as the title states, is a masterpiece. The story is exciting and applies to all genders. Complete with action and adventure, this book is wonderful. Compliments to the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a beetle that can draw tiny pictures! It may sound stupid, but this book is a MASTERPIECE! I recomend this book to anyone, no matter what age they may be!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good epic