The Miniature World of Marvin and James (Masterpiece Adventures Series #1)

Overview

In this Masterpiece Adventure, the first in a companion series for younger readers from bestselling author Elise Broach, James is going on vacation for a week. His best friend, Marvin the beetle, has to stay at home. Without James to keep him company, Marvin has to play with his annoying cousin, Elaine. Marvin and Elaine quickly find themselves getting into all sorts of trouble—even getting trapped inside a pencil sharpener! Marvin misses James and starts to worry about their friendship. Will James ...

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The Miniature World of Marvin and James

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Overview

In this Masterpiece Adventure, the first in a companion series for younger readers from bestselling author Elise Broach, James is going on vacation for a week. His best friend, Marvin the beetle, has to stay at home. Without James to keep him company, Marvin has to play with his annoying cousin, Elaine. Marvin and Elaine quickly find themselves getting into all sorts of trouble—even getting trapped inside a pencil sharpener! Marvin misses James and starts to worry about their friendship. Will James still be Marvin's friend when he gets home or will James have found a new best friend?

 

A Christy Ottaviano Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/24/2014
Broach and Murphy bring back James and his beetle best friend, Marvin—previously seen in 2008's acclaimed Masterpiece—in this first book in the Masterpiece Adventures series of chapter books. Their cross-species friendship is just right for a younger crowd, and so are the insecurities and frustrations Marvin is feeling as James prepares to go on a trip to the beach without him (“Marvin does not want to help James pack. But at least it is something they can do together"). James leaves in the first chapter and doesn't return until the fifth and final one; while he's away, Marvin goes exploring with his cousin Elaine, a journey that takes a genuinely harrowing turn when they get stuck in Mr. Pompaday's mechanical pencil sharpener. Murphy's pen-and-ink illustrations shift from glee to horror as she shows the bug-eyed beetles cannonballing into the soft pit of pencil shavings, only to have their escape route plugged by a pencil. Despite the simplicity of Broach's pared-down sentences, the story brims with both emotion and moments of quiet wisdom. Ages 6–9. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Page-turning adventure." - The Horn Book

 

"This winsome series debut is both a sweet story of cross-species friendship and a sobering new way to look at pencil sharpeners." - Kirkus Reviews

 

Awards and praise for Masterpiece:

"”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

"Despite the simplicity of Broach's pared-down sentences, the story brims with both emotion and moments of quiet wisdom." -Publishers Weekly

A New York Times Bestselling Book

American Library Association Notable Children's Books, ABC E.B. White Read Aloud Award, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, CCBC Choice, Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens, CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Master List, Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Choice Award Master List, Indiana Read Alouds Too Good to Miss Master List, Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, Kansas State Reading Circle, Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Master List, Nebraska Golden Sower Award Master List, Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List

From the Publisher
"This winsome series debut is both a sweet story of cross-species friendship and a sobering new way to look at pencil sharpeners." - Kirkus Reviews

Awards and praise for Masterpiece:

"”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

A New York Times Bestselling Book

American Library Association Notable Children's Books, ABC E.B. White Read Aloud Award, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, CCBC Choice, Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens, CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Master List, Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Choice Award Master List, Indiana Read Alouds Too Good to Miss Master List, Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, Kansas State Reading Circle, Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Master List, Nebraska Golden Sower Award Master List, Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
The characters from Broach’s best-selling novel Masterpiece—eleven-year-old human boy James Pompaday and artistically talented beetle Marvinhere launch a younger chapter book series of their continuing adventures. James is heading off for a week at the beach with his mother and brother, while his father and Marvin remain at home. At first, Marvin rolls himself into a desolate little ball. Then his beetle Mama, tired of his moping, tells him that “[o]nly boring beetles get bored.” James finds this saying puzzling, as generations of children have before him, asking “A boring beetle would not have an interesting life in the first place. Why would he get bored?” But then Marvin finds himself having an adventure both exciting and terrifying when he and his cousin Elaine explore the inside of Mr. Pompaday’s pencil sharpener, only to find themselves trapped when the man sharpens a bunch of pencils and leaves one in the sharpener “exit” when he’s called away from his desk. All turns out well, and Marvin is relieved and touched beyond measure to discover that James missed him just as much as he missed James. Broach takes seriously even the smallest fears of both beetles and children; Murphy’s soft, sepia-toned illustrations are an expressive delight. Together, they have crafted a gentle tribute to the powerful bonds connecting friends, whether together or apart. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.; Ages 6 to 9.
School Library Journal
06/01/2014
Gr 1–4—In a companion to the acclaimed Masterpiece (Holt, 2008), best friends James (a boy) and Marvin (a beetle) are separated for a week while James goes on vacation. Marvin has to make do with his irritating cousin, Elaine. Their hijinks are highlighted in this charming and humorous chapter book series opener about friendship and adventure.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-18
The boy-and-beetle friendship first introduced in Broach's charming novel Masterpiece (2010) is now the cornerstone of an illustrated chapter-book series. James is a boy, and Marvin is a beetle, but with the help of Marvin's drawing skills, they find a way to communicate. James' mom worries that her son's best friend is an insect, but tiny Marvin has the opposite worry—that James will find human friends who supplant him. When James takes off on a beach vacation, Marvin frets even more, but he manages to have a few adventures of his own, like getting trapped inside Mr. Pompaday's electric pencil sharpener with his beetle cousin Elaine. At first it's entertaining to frolic among the shavings, but when an unanticipated pencil clogs the exit hole, there's big trouble. Murphy clearly revels in the Borrowers-style perspective of the beetles' miniature world: In their under-sink home, Marvin's drawing table is a die, and a propped-up birthday-cake candle dwarfs the family. The dramatic, blow-by-blow pencil-sharpener incident dominates the story, but it circles back to friendship. James really did miss Marvin after all, and a souvenir seashell (the perfect beetle hideout!) seals the deal. This winsome series debut is both a sweet story of cross-species friendship and a sobering new way to look at pencil sharpeners. (Fantasy. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805091908
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Series: Masterpiece Adventures Series , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 187,815
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Elise Broach is the New York Times−bestselling author of books for children and young adults, including Desert Crossing, Shakespeare’s Secret, Masterpiece, and the Superstition Mountain Mysteries series. Her books have been selected as ALA Notable Books, Junior Library Guild selections, the recipient of an E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and an Edgar Award nominee, among other distinctions. She lives in Connecticut with her family.

Kelly Murphy has illustrated many books for children including Masterpiece, Alex and the Amazing Time Machine, and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist books. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

James Says Good-bye

 

 

Marvin is sad.

James is going away.

“Just to the beach,” James tells him.

Mrs. Pompaday and William are going too.

Only Mr. Pompaday will stay. Marvin does not like Mr. Pompaday.

James says, “I will be back in a week.”

That does not make Marvin feel better. A week is a long time! He will miss James.

He rolls into a ball, like this:

James leans close to Marvin. “Don’t be sad, little guy. When I come home, I’ll bring you a surprise!”

Even that does not make Marvin feel better. What will he do without James? James is his best friend.

“You can help me pack,” James says. He lifts his suitcase onto the bed.

Marvin does not want to help James pack. But at least it is something they can do together.

James has a list of everything he needs to pack. He puts the list on his desk.

“Now, when I say something, cross it off,” James tells Marvin. He opens the bottle of ink on the desk. He puts the cap next to Marvin with a little ink in it.

Marvin can’t read, but he is good at crossing things off. He dips his front legs in the ink.

“One,” says James. “Socks.” He puts socks in the suitcase.

Marvin draws a line through the first word on the list.

“Two,” says James. “Underwear.” He puts underwear in the suitcase.

Marvin draws a line through the second word.

“Three … swimsuit.” James puts his swimsuit in the suitcase. It has dragonflies on it. Marvin thinks it would look nicer with beetles. He draws a line through the third word on the list.

“Four … pajamas.” James puts his pajamas in the suitcase.

Marvin draws a line through the fourth word.

“See? You are really helping!” James tells him. “That is half my list. Five … shirts.” He puts shirts in the suitcase.

Oops! Marvin has no more ink on his legs. He dips them in the cap again. He draws a line through the fifth word on the list.

“Six … shorts. My suitcase is almost full.” James squeezes his shorts into the suitcase.

Marvin draws a line through the sixth word on the list.

“Seven … toothbrush. I always forget my toothbrush,” James tells Marvin. “That’s why I made a list in the first place.” He puts his toothbrush in the suitcase.

Marvin draws a line through the seventh word.

There is only one word left.

“Eight … book! That’s everything,” says James. He takes a book from his shelf. Marvin draws a line through the last word on the list.

“There’s no room,” James says. He puts the book on the floor and moves things around in the suitcase.

“James!” Mrs. Pompaday calls. “Are you ready? We can’t be late for the plane.”

“Coming, Mom,” James says. He zips his suitcase shut.

Uh-oh! The book is still on the floor. James will forget his book! Marvin runs over the list. All the words are crossed off. He taps his legs on number eight.

James sees him. “Good job!” he says. “You crossed off everything.”

Marvin keeps tapping.

James puts on his shoes.

Marvin runs around in circles.

“Don’t worry,” James says. “I’ll be back soon.”

Marvin runs to the cap of ink and dips his legs in it.

James stands up. “Time to go.”

Marvin runs back to the paper and draws this:

Finally, James understands. “Oh!” he says. “I forgot my book!”

He finds the book on the floor and puts it in his suitcase. Marvin sighs.

“Thanks, little guy!” James smiles at Marvin. “You are a big help.”

He pats Marvin’s shell. “Good-bye! See you in a week.”

Marvin lifts one leg and waves good-bye. He is still sad. But at least he helped James pack, and James did not forget his book.

 

Text copyright © 2014 by Elise Broach

Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Kelly Murphy

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