Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Wright 3by Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist
Spring semester at the Lab School in Hyde Park finds Petra and Calder drawn into another mystery when unexplainable accidents and ghostly happenings throw a spotlight on Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and it's up to the two junior sleuths to piece together the clues. Stir in the return of Calder's friend Tommy (which creates a tense triangle), H.G. Wells's The… See more details below
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Spring semester at the Lab School in Hyde Park finds Petra and Calder drawn into another mystery when unexplainable accidents and ghostly happenings throw a spotlight on Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and it's up to the two junior sleuths to piece together the clues. Stir in the return of Calder's friend Tommy (which creates a tense triangle), H.G. Wells's The Invisible Man, 3D pentominoes, and the hunt for a coded message left behind by Wright, and the kids become tangled in a dangerous web in which life and art intermingle with death, deception, and surprise.
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Patricia J. Morrow
Gr. 58. How many newsworthy art crimes can 12-year-old sleuths thwart in a single year? At least two, as readers will discover in this sequel to Balliett's celebrated Chasing Vermeer (2004). After all, “magical coincidences” are what these thinking-kids' adventures are all about. Tommy Segovia, the best friend Calder corresponded with during the Vermeer crisis, has returned to Hyde Park, and he resents Petra and Calder's tight twosome. But when a house by Frank Lloyd Wright is slated for destruction, the sixth-graders overcome tensions to save the landmark and decode its secretsamong them, an intriguing buried artifact. Leapfrogging connections and mystical messages from Calder's pentominoes once again drive the plot, but some children may find this second installment more arcane than the first, with too much focus on Wright and his genius, difficult-to-follow gleanings from sources as eclectic as H. G. Wells' Invisible Man and Fibonacci, and a central problem that lacks the glamorous hook of an international art heist. But determined fans will grab hold of the true-to-life friendship issues Balliett introduces, and manyparticularly her brainiest, most open-minded readerswill emerge energized by the invitation to explore themes of an interconnected universe. A new pentominoes code appears in the narrative, and Helquist likewise embeds another challenge in his drawings (unfinished in the galley). Jennifer Mattson
Tommy, who went missing in Chasing Vermeer, has moved back to his old neighborhood in Chicago and things have changed. His best friend, Calder, has a new friend, a girl named Petra, and exciting things happened while Tommy was gone. Miss Hussey, the sixth grade teacher, seems a little strange, but the students all pay attention to her. The announcement that the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, right down the street, is to be dismantled and displayed in different museums becomes the lynchpin for another exciting art adventure. Although Tommy tries to be friends with Calder and Petra, his resentment frequently puts him on a solo path and also caused problems between Calder and Petra.
Each character has a distinct personality and approach to problem solving. Petra finds a copy of the Invisible Man that has a strange relationship to the goings on; Tommy- who lives next to the house- unearths a fish-shaped object on the grounds where he should not have been. Calder's pentominoes seem to be giving him messages. There are lights in the house. As the mystery develops and more resources are needed to save the house, Tommy, Petra, and Calder's complimentary abilities move toward solutions and success. While learning about the Robie House, they develop their art appreciation, a sense of history, civic responsibility, take some risks, and eventually all become friends. This installment is a worthy follow-up and provides a wonderful opportunity for young readers to think about buildings as art.
Kikus Starred The determined sleuths from Balliett' s fine first novel, Chasing Vermeer, return in another mystery, centered on one of Chicago's architectural treasures. As sixth grade wanes, the vibrant Ms. Hussey reveals heartbreaking news: Because of the extraordinary costs of maintenance and repair, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, a city icon since 1910, will be dismantled in sections and donated to four museums. While the class's spirited campaign to save the building ends with the school year, the passionately curios Petra and Calder press on, abetted by Calder's good friend Tommy, just back from a traumatic year away. The shifting third-person narrative effectively captures the children's tense struggle to transform from duo to trio, and transmits their shared delight in puzzling, excavating and thinking deeply, creating a similarly heightened alertness in the reader. The “Wright 3” take increasingly bold risks to recover a stolen, priceless
- Scholastic, Inc.
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- 5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an ExcerptThe Prophet of Yonwood
By Jeanne Duprau Random House Books for Young Readers Copyright © 2006 Jeanne Duprau
All right reserved.
Chapter One The Inheritance
Nickie Randolph's first sight of the town of Yonwood was a white steeple rising out of the pine forest that covered the mountainside. She leaned forward, gazing through the windshield of the car. "Is that it?"
Her aunt Crystal, who was driving, put one hand up to shield her eyes from the rays of the setting sun. "That's it," she said.
"My new home," said Nickie.
"You have to get that notion out of your mind," said Crystal. "It's not going to happen."
I'm going to make it happen, thought Nickie, though she didn't say it out loud. Crystal's mood was already bad enough. "How long till we get there?" she asked.
"We'll be there in twenty minutes, if nothing else gets in our way."
A lot had gotten in their way so far. The Streakline train was closed down because of the Crisis, so they'd had to drive. They'd been on the road for seven hours, though the trip from Philadelphia should have taken no more than five. But long lines at gas stations, detours around pot-holed or snow-covered stretches of highway, and military roadblocks had slowed them down. Crystal didn't like delays. She was a fast-moving, efficient person, and when her way was blocked, she became very tense and spoke with her lips in two hard lines.
They came to the Yonwood exit, and Crystal turned off the highway onto a road that wound uphill. Here the trees grew thick on either side, and so tall that their bare branches met overhead, making a canopy of sticks. Drops of rain began to spatter the car's windshield.
After a while, they came to a sign that said, "Yonwood. Pop. 2,460." The trees thinned out, and the rain fell harder. They passed a few storage sheds, a collapsing barn, and a lumberyard. After that, houses began to appear on the side of the road-small, tired-looking wooden houses, their roofs dripping. Many of them had rockers or couches on the front porch, where people would no doubt be sitting if it weren't the dead of winter.
From a small brick shelter at the side of the road, a policeman stepped out holding a red stop sign. He held it up and waved it at them. Crystal slowed down, stopped, and opened her window. The policeman bent down. He had on a rain jacket with the hood up, and rain dripped off the hood and onto his nose. "Hello, ma'am," he said. "Are you a resident?"
"No," said Crystal. "Is that a problem?"
"Just doing a routine entry check, ma'am," the man said. "Part of our safety program. Had some evidence lately of possible terrorist activity in the woods. Your purpose here?"
"My grandfather has died," Crystal said. "My sister and I have inherited his house. I've come to fix the house up and sell it."
The man glanced at Nickie. "This is your sister?"
"This is my niece," said Crystal. "My sister's daughter."
"And your grandfather's name?" said the man.
"Arthur Green," said Crystal.
"Ah, yes," the policeman said. "A fine gentleman." He smiled. "You be careful while you're here, now. We've had reports indicating there may be agents of the Phalanx Nations traveling alone or in small groups in parts of the area. Have you been spoken to by any suspicious strangers?"
"No," said Crystal. "Just you. You seem very suspicious."
"Ha ha," said the man, not really laughing. "All right, ma'am," he went on. "You may go. Sorry for the delay, but as you know there's a crisis. We're taking every precaution."
He stepped away, and they drove on.
"Terrorists even here?" Nickie said.
"It's nonsense," said Crystal. "Why would a terrorist be wandering around in the woods? Pay no attention."
Excerpted from The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne Duprau Copyright © 2006 by Jeanne Duprau. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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