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When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery . . . including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings towards it. Both the boy and the sculpture seem to be out of place . . . and then, on the same ...
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When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery . . . including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings towards it. Both the boy and the sculpture seem to be out of place . . . and then, on the same night, they disappear! Calder's friends Petra and Tommy must fly out to help his father find him. But this mystery has more twists and turns than a Calder mobile . . . with more at stake than first meets the eye.
Acclaimed for her sophisticated juggling of art concepts, mystery, philosophy and storytelling, Balliett (Chasing Vermeer) outdoes herself with this ambitious novel. Like its predecessors, it asks readers to consider big ideas, this time using the mobiles of Alexander Calder as a springboard. Now in seventh grade, series heroes Petra, Tommy and Calder first see Calder's mobiles at an exhibit at a Chicago museum. There they are introduced to the "Calder game," which invites participants to join five ideas or things that move in relation to one another, while looking for "balance, beauty, and surprise." Three weeks later, Calder accompanies his father to a tiny town near Blenheim Palace in England, where an anonymous donor has installed a Calder sculpture in the ancient town square, much to the villagers' dismay. Curiously, Calder's own presence seems to inspire dismay as well-until he, and the sculpture, simply vanish overnight. The mystery is crafted more solidly than in either of Balliett's previous titles, and the setting-enriched by the hedge maze of Blenheim and the possible proximity of the pseudonymous British artist Banksy-proves completely enticing. And once again Helquist encodes his b&w illustrations with puzzle pieces. Motivated readers will treasure this provocative title. Ages 9-12. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr 5-8- Those precocious art sleuths Calder, Petra, and Tommy are back, and this mystery is every bit as intricate, engaging, and delightful as Chasing Vermeer (2004) and The Wright 3 (2006, both Scholastic). The three seventh graders go with their class to an exhibit of Alexander Calder's mobiles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Soon after, Calder and his father travel to a remote village in England that has an anonymously donated Calder sculpture, the Minotaur , and a maze at Blenheim Park. Both the boy and the sculpture disappear on the same night. Balliett's love of words and her ability to tuck hidden, subtle clues into her story are evident throughout. Petra and Tommy fly to England to help Calder's dad and the police find their friend. The kids see mobiles everywhere: in the leaves, flying crows, paper trash. Indeed, the whole story is structured as a mobile, with plot and characters twisting and turning, moving and dancing around each other. The young sleuths are able to take what seems to be chance and coincidence and apply their own conclusions to the puzzle wrapped inside this mystery. Balliett's wonderful writing is full of foreshadowing, literary allusions, wordplay, and figurative language. Calder's signature yellow pentominoes play an important role, and the kids create a new code. Helquist's detailed illustrations enhance this multilayered story. Fans of the author's previous novels are in for a treat in this latest adventure.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME