Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeer


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Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist

This bewitching first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure, and delivered as a work of art.

When a book of unexplainable occurances brings Petra Andalee & Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen: seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, & an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal. As Petra & Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth they must draw on their powers of intuition, their skills at problem solving, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439372947
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2004
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Blue Balliett is the author of several bestselling, acclaimed mystery novels, including Chasing Vermeer (a Book Sense Book of the Year and an Edgar Award winner), The Wright 3, The Calder Game, and The Danger Box. She writes in the laundry room of her home in Chicago, Illinois, and you can find her online at

Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, and grew up in Orem, Utah. He entered Brigham Young University as an engineering major, but soon realized this was not the right choice for him. Having decided to take time off from college, he headed to Taiwan where he stumbled into a job illustrating English textbooks, which he enjoyed. There, a friend introduced him to an illustration student, also from Brigham Young University. This introduction inspired Brett to eventually switch majors. After spending a year in Taiwan, he went back to BYU and transferred to the illustration department. In 1993 he received a fine arts degree in illustration.

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Chasing Vermeer (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 161 reviews.
Canterwood_Crest_fan More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very interesting! For anyone who enjoys mysteries I would highly advise you to read this book! Once I started reading this book I could not put it down because it was so interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!Blue Balliett did a great job!!!!!!
Book_Worm_1998 More than 1 year ago
This was a good book, but I thought it was a little confusing in some parts. You have to take your time with this book, and make sure you understand it. Other than that, it was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, and a thrilling adventure. You will be glued to the book once you start. It is great if you are doing mysteries in the classroom or just enjoy reading mysteries. Chasing Vermeer is meant for kids not really adults, but adults will enjoy it also. The character descriptions are great and enables you to visualize them in your head and the author does not give away the end so it surprises you.. If you enjoy this book you would defiantly enjoy the rest in the series (The Wright 3 and The Calder Game). Which are just as good if not better than Chasing Vermeer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great indescribable book! It invovles a famous painting getting stolen and these two seldom kids'Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay', attempting to solve the case of this spectacular mystery! It has you super glued to the edge of your seat, with all the events and happenings in this novel. It is DEFENITELY one of the best books of all time! It is pretty difficult to please me, but this book really has!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was an amazing and supencful book. I could not put it down and highly recomend it to anyone. The the main kids are great and you come to like them. The plot is great and it keeps you wanting to read it from beginning to end. I needed to get the sequal right away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When a famous panting gets stolen two kids go on a undercover mission. Petra and her friend are the only two people who really even care about where it is. When they start looking deeper they stumble onto a mystery they wish they hadn't gotten into. Then the kids at school start making fun of them when the kids at school don't even know what is really going on. When Petra's friend Starts paying closer to his pentominoes and less to what really does make sense everything starts to click. I liked this book because it was very surprising in the end and a very well written book. I wouldn't change anything because i thought it was a very good mystery and I like how it surprises you in the end. I¿d recommend it to mystery lovers because it keeps the person who stole the painting a mystery till the very end. I would give this book five stars. ZN Mystery Chasing Vermeer # of pages: 254 By:Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! I first got the book in fourth grade, but I read the first 10 pages, then put it back down. Now, almost three years later, I wanted something new to read, so I decided to give it another try, and what do you know! I loved it, and can't wait to read the sequal!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A MUST READ! This is an amazing book! Every chapter really captured my attention and created clear pictures in my mind. The plot superb and took you on a roller coaster ride. I couldn't put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the most nailbiting mystery I've ever read. It has an understandable vocabulary as well, which lets me fly through the pages. The way the whole book was written was just,perfect. Perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chasing Vermeer is one of the BEST mystery books I've ever read. You don't have to be an art lunatic to enjoy this mystery woven around the theft of A Lady Writing, by Johannes Vermeer. It has a very complicated plot, made better by many, many plot twists. Very good writing (it's not nearly as poor as people say it is) helps you really get a good picture of what's going on in your head. You can literally see what Calder and Petra, the main characters, are seeing. This book is a good title for you if you like mysteries. I would also recommend it to people that are interested in strange coincidences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great mystery! There will be character changes though.This is an E ( For Everyone). This is such a good 260 page novel, It's been said it could be a motion picture!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoght it was a great book.I would like to read it again. I liked it because it made you feel like you were in the story too and that you had to figure out the mistery too. I think that other kids should read this book too. I think the age level for this book is 10-12.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was off the hook. If you like suspenseful or mysteries you can almost do on your own books you will absoulutley love this book. It isnt much about art it is more of a mystery.
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
I would give this book two stars because the author did not explain much as you read and I felt confused at times. Chasing Vermeer is about a boy and girl who are united by strange, unexplainable occurrences want to find a missing Vermeer painting. Along the way, they are baffled by coincidences with their teacher and neighbor. I would recommend this book to 5th and 6th graders because they could relate the most to this book. Also, they would most likely be more interested than I was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book ever! It keeps you engaged and wanting to find out what happends next. I couldn't put this book down when I read it. It's a great read for grades 4-8th grade. I read it my 7th grade year and I still love it. One of my favorites for sure. The next book in the series is The Wright 3 and that is to die for, but I love Chasing Vermeer a little better. Blue Balliett uses such great descriptions makes you get to really know Petra, Calder, and all the other important characters.
ressica22 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read! My sister was reading it because we were in the car on a long trip and then she wanted me to read it to her. After I started reading it I could not put it down. I had seen this book in the library and the cover made it look lame to me so now I never judge a book by it's cover.
DaylilyP More than 1 year ago
Each time we got into the car last summer to go on a day trip we listened to the story. It was exciting and interesting. I have three children, ages 5, 9, and 11. There was something in it for everyone, including myself. I found myself looking to plan long rides just to listen to more of the story!
The way the story starts gets you immediately interested. The kids minds were quickly engaged and challenged. We found ourselves completely immersed in the mystery, trying to figure things out. The kids could relate to the characters; they found them fascinating, yet regular.
We had such a great "experience" with this book. I even made a project after we completed the book- We took a trip to the library to check out books with Vermmers' art work in them. We brought them home and found the art pieces that were described in the book and talked about Vermeer. Then we painted our own art work on small canvases I picked up at an arts and crafts store.
I have recommended this book/ audio to all of my friends and to the school that my children attend.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the next book in the series on audio. However, I bought the book to read aloud to my kids. I just can't drive while we listen!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think of art in a new and incredible way! You'll be cracking codes and sreaching art right along with the characters. We did this book for a mother daughter bookclub and everyone enjoyed the book so much and the activites that go along with it!! It is a very thrilling and grasping book for children and adults. I would diffently recommend it.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I think the fact that I had never heard of CHASING VERMEER before I picked up a copy at the bookstore helped in my enjoyment of it. After I finished reading the book, I read with interest other reviews, which is usually my habit after I've written my own review. I like to see what other readers thought of a story, or how similar--or, in some cases, dissimilar--my own thoughts and feelings are from other readers. I was surprised to see that many had touted CHASING VERMEER as a THE DA VINCI CODE for the younger set. I was surprised by the supposed hype that the book had generated. I was surprised, in fact, by the way I was caught up in the story myself. Although I can't comment on it's similarity to THE DA VINCI CODE (I'm one of probably only a handful of humans on the planet who hasn't read it!), I can say that CHASING VERMEER is a mixture of mystery, art, precociousness, and ingenuity that made it a joy to read.

Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay live down the street from each other in Hyde Park, share the same birthday, and have as the same sixth-grade teacher, the wonderful Ms. Hussey, at University School. It's rare to find a teacher who allows her students to have a say in what material they will cover, and both Petra and Calder are aware of this. When Ms. Hussey asks the students to discuss with an adult a letter that changed their life, most students are baffled. When the assignment fails, Ms. Hussey instead takes them on a field trip to the Art Institute--where the worlds of Petra, Calder, Ms. Hussey, and Vermeer collide.

Who was Vermeer? An artist, it turns out, who has several paintings attributed to him that some members of the general public don't agree were done by the painter himself. Suddenly, Petra and Calder's world is filled with a strange book entitled "Lo!", a painting known as "A Lady Writing," an old lady named Mrs. Sharpe, a man who owns a bookstore, a set of twelve pentominoes, a bunch of frogs, and a few bags of blue M&M's.

CHASING VERMEER is, quite simply, an art mystery in the style of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, but more interesting and complex. This is a delightful read, and I can't wait to read THE WRIGHT 3, the next story in the adventures of Petra and Calder.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Always look in the tiniest places because what you're looking at may not always be as it seems. In the book Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet, two kids set out on their own , figuring out clues to help them find a painting that has suddenly disappeared. This story takes place in Chicago. In the beginning of the story, Calder and Petra, the main characters, were just acquaintances, when they realized that mysterious things interest them both. They begin to try and solve the mystery of the painting. Their search for clues to find the stolen painting lead them in many directions: and old lady in the neighborhood, a famous bookstore, their teacher, a book of weird things that happened a long time ago, and series of odd coincidences. The closer they get to finding the painting and the culprit, the stranger and more difficult the clues become. I would recommend this book to Middle school students, and older elememtary school students. I would give this book a 9 out of 10, because most of the book was fantanstic, although the vocabulary was at a very low level. For the most part, I definetly enjoyed the novel and I hope that other people who read this book will enjoy as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is like the best book ever!!! it mixes art mystery and um awesome excitement. you get pulled right into it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett is an exciteful book that keeps the readers thinking on their feet. This fictitious book shows how random events in plots can relate to the main idea of a book. As pointed out in the book, its like the Davinchi code for teens. The book starts off in Chicago as three unrelated characters receive mysterious letters asking for their help in an international art crime. The protagonists of this story are two eleven year old youths named Calder and Petra. They are a bit eccentric but friendly and befriend each other after a while. While they explore their friendship, they stumble upon a very interesting piece of art called 'A Lady Writing'.Intrigued by the painting, they call their local museum and find out the horrifying truth that it has been stolen. This paves the way for the whole story as Calder and Petra try to solve the mystery of the missing painting. This book is interesting due to the fact that the mystery is solved using logic, hunches, intuition, and a few clues. Blue Balliett keeps readers interested by throwing in puzzling texts, letters written in secret codes. This story challenges the mind and forces readers to pay close attention to every detail.In my opinion, this is a great book for people seeking a puzzling-mystery book. This book changed my perspective on what I thought a challenging book is. This book constantly keeps you thinking about what details may help you solve the mystery. If You're looking to help solve the mystery of the missing painting, then i guess you will have to read the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My friend's mom recomended it to me. It first started out like a regular book, but it soon gets more and more exciting on each page. You can have the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chasing Vermeer is a mystery book, and a very good one at that. It takes place in the present in Chicago. Many strange things happen as the main characters, Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee, pursue a famous stolen painting. They also make many new friends in the process. The main themes are extraordinary because there are no other books like Chasing Vermeer. The main themese are art theft, coincidences and, in the end, twelves. In conclusion, Chasing Vermeer is a very good book. I think that people who enjoy mysteries would really enjoy Chasing Vermeer. I would especially reccommend Chasing Vermeer to people who like mysteries about young sleuths. I think that Chasing Vermeer is a very good book for kids eleven and up. However, if you do not like mysteries you should avoid reading Chasing Vermeer. Chasing Vermeer is an awesome book! I give it five stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very great especially of you like art.It is also a book of puzzles and mysteries.