In London Art Chase, the first title in the new Faithgirlz Glimmer Girls series, readers meet 10-year-old twins Mia and Maddie and their adorable little sister, Lu Lu. All the girls are smart, sassy, and unique in their own way, each with a special little something that adds to great family adventures.
There is pure excitement in the family as the group heads to London for the first time to watch mom, famous singer Gloria Glimmer, perform. But on a day trip to the National Gallery, Maddie witnesses what she believes to be an art theft and takes her sisters and their beloved and wacky nanny Miss Julia, on a wild and crazy adventure as they follow the supposed thief to his lair. Will the Glimmer Girls save the day? And will Maddie find what makes her shine?
About the Author
Since her 2005 breakout RIAA Gold certified album Awaken, multi-Grammy nominated artist Natalie Grant has remained one of the top-selling Christian and Gospel artists with over 3 million in sales. The Gospel Music Association has named her the Female Vocalist of the Year five times, and she has had multiple songs and albums on the Billboard charts. More important than accolades, her passion is to help people across the globe discover their God-given calling and encourage them to live it out to the fullest potential. An outspoken advocate for victims of human trafficking, Grant cofounded Hope for Justice International a multinational organization that rescues and provides complete restorative care for victims of trafficking. Grant makes her home in Nashville, with her husband producer, and songwriter, Bernie Herms, and their three children: twins Grace and Bella and their youngest, Sadie. Follow Natalie at www.nataliegrant.com
Read an Excerpt
London Art Chase
By Natalie Grant
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2016 Natalie Grant
All rights reserved.
A clothes tornado had struck, sweeping Maddie, Mia, and Lulu right along with it. Hats, shoes, T-shirts, skirts, jeans, sweaters, coats, and even a feather boa or two were strewn across Maddie's bedroom. Piles spilled over the edges of their suitcases and covered the floor, topped here and there with various dolls from Lulu's collection, Maddie's sketchbook and colored pencils, and Mia's endless collection of books.
"Girls, what in the world ...?"
One look at Miss Julia's face and Maddie burst out laughing. Even without checking, she knew Mia was laughing too. Topping the list of what she loved about being a twin was this — the way she and Mia could almost always read each other's minds. A close second was the way she and Mia fit together, like the chords and melody of a song. Mia was only three minutes older, but she was also three inches taller and three times faster to know the just-right thing to say. Mia always had a plan, but Maddie was the one who'd convince Lulu to play along. Plus, Maddie could stop any argument between her twin and her little sister in its tracks.
"We're picking the most London-y things we can find!" Lulu announced, throwing her arms around their nanny in a giant hug. "Come and see!"
Miss Julia hugged Lulu back. "It looks to me like you've picked everything in your closets!"
Mia's eyes lit up the way they always did when she had a new plan. "I know! Let's have a fashion show. Miss Julia, you can help us pick our outfits."
"Mommy said we could choose first, and then she'd check our suitcases to make sure we had everything we need," Lulu said.
"Everything you need, plus a princess dress?" Miss Julia teased.
"We're going to see a palace, so I definitely need my princess dress." Lulu fished her crown out of the pile and placed it on her head. "And this, of course."
"Did I hear something about a fashion show?" Mom asked as she came up the stairs.
Her eyes went wide as she took in the disaster that used to be Maddie's room.
"Mom," Maddie said, catching Mia's eye. "You should be in our fashion show too. We can go in your closet and help you choose perfect outfits for your concerts."
"Gloria Glimmer ... sporting her princess finest," Dad called up from the kitchen.
Mom winked at Maddie. "Nice try, kiddo, but after seeing this room, I'm not letting the three of you anywhere near my closet. I'd love to watch your fashion show, though."
"Go sit on the couch. And close your eyes. And count to 100," Lulu said.
"Wait!" Mia said. "We should make a list of all the places we're going. We're going to the palace, right?
"Yes, and to the Tower of London," Mom said.
"What's that?" Lulu asked.
"At the Tower of London, there's a room where you'll see jewelry and crowns that belonged to real princesses and queens."
Mia picked her way across the mess and returned with a notebook and pencil. "Okay, so the palace and the Tower of London, and what else?"
"We'll see art, won't we?" Even though Maddie already knew the answer, she had to ask again.
"Exactly. You'll go to the National Gallery of Art, where they have every kind of painting, plus a gallery where kids can make their own art too. And we'll see cathedrals and Big Ben —"
"Who's Big Ben?" Lulu asked.
"Remember the clock in Peter Pan?"
"Ooh, will we see him too?" Lulu clapped her hands.
"Lulu, you know Peter Pan's not real," Mia said.
Lulu opened her mouth to argue, but Maddie jumped in to stop the fight before it started, "Why's the clock called Big Ben?"
"You know, I'm not sure," Mom said.
"It's actually not the clock that's called Big Ben," Miss Julia said, reading off her phone. "Big Ben is the Great Bell inside the tower that chimes — along with a lot of other smaller bells — every quarter hour. Some people think the Great Bell is named after Sir Benjamin Hall because he oversaw its installation. But others think it's named after Benjamin Caunt, England's heavyweight boxing champion."
"Fashion show time!" Lulu shouted, twirling around in the assortment of clothes she'd been pulling on — shiny purple boots, a fringed skirt, a multicolored, striped T-shirt, and a glittery, hot pink sunglasses.
"We'd better go downstairs," Miss Julia said.
"And close your eyes!" Lulu called after them. "Count to 100."
They'd only reached 40 by the time Maddie, Mia, and Lulu had lined up on the stairs.
"Open your eyes!" shouted Lulu, and then, "WAIT! Keep them closed. Get Daddy to play the piano. We need fashion show music!"
"How are they supposed to keep their eyes closed and get Dad too?" Mia asked.
"Upstairs, upstairs!" said Lulu, pulling her sisters up to the landing.
When Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 wafted up the stairs, the girls sashayed back down again, this time with extra flair to match the music.
"These are our touring-round-town outfits," Mia said. "Including comfortable shoes so we can walk and walk."
Mia was wearing her favorite shoes. Lulu still wore her purple boots. Maddie had shoved her feet into ballet flats after pulling on a skirt and her favorite scarf and jacket. Mia was wearing her favorite T-shirt. It had shooting stars.
"You might want to add an umbrella," Miss Julia said. "And jackets. It rains almost every other day in London, even in June."
"It won't rain for the Glimmer tour," Lulu said. "It will be just lov-e-ly."
After the girls floated up and down the stairs modeling a full range of outfits, Mom and Miss Julia gave them a standing ovation. Then Dad kissed the tops of each of their heads.
"Now, let's finish packing those suitcases," Mom said. "And see if we can find Maddie's floor again before dinner. Deal?"
"Can we have pizza?" Mia asked.
"Barbecue chicken pizza!" Maddie suggested.
"And Doritos?" Lulu added. "And Cheetos and bologna?"
"Maybe pizza," Mom said, eyeing them each in turn. "Plus salad. And maybe, if we get all our packing done, chocolate cookies for dessert."
"Deal!" the girls said in unison before racing each other up to Maddie's room.CHAPTER 2
Lulu bounced up and down on her toes as everyone took their luggage down from the overhead bins and slowly filtered out of the airplane. Maddie knew exactly how Lulu felt. All she wanted was to stand someplace where she had space to stretch her arms and legs. Between the flight from Nashville to Washington, D.C., and this flight from D.C. to London, they had watched four movies, eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner — plus three snacks — and she'd taken two naps. Maddie had read as much of her book as her eyes could bear, had drawn every last thing she could think of in her sketchpad, and even still, she'd run out of things to do almost twenty minutes ago.
Finally, finally, the aisle cleared, and Dad led the way out of the airplane. Lulu exploded out of the air bridge into the first empty space she could find and started to twirl and leap. Sometimes Maddie wished she could be six again and get away with things like Lulu did. No one was irritated with her little sister's twirling, not even the businessman she accidentally knocked into. But honestly, even when Maddie was six, she couldn't have ignored the way everyone was watching. Lulu didn't seem to even notice. Maddie stretched her arms and legs, laughing as Dad joined Lulu and helped her twirl. Miss Julia snapped picture after picture.
"Are you making another collage?" Maddie asked, peeking over Miss Julia's shoulder.
"Look at this app," she said, with her familiar burst of enthusiasm about anything new and creative. "I can make Lulu look like she's in a graphic novel, or a black-and-white sketch." She flicked through options. "Which one should we use?"
"I say go with the watercolor-looking one. It's the one that actually looks like Lulu is in motion."
Miss Julia clicked again a few times, finalizing the picture. "Nice choice."
Mom put one arm around Maddie and the other around Mia, pulling them both close. "Are my beautiful girls ready to see London?"
Maddie could tell Mia was wound tight with just as much excitement as she was.
"Yes!" they chimed together.
As they made their way through the airport, the Glimmer family might as well have been a parade. Lulu led the way.
"Come on, guys, this way!" she kept shouting, even though Dad was the one actually reading the signs and making sure they were headed for baggage claim.
Dad didn't always come on tour with Mom. The girls came along most of the time, but Dad had to split his time between touring and arranging and producing music. Mom joked that Dad always found time to tour to exceptional places, like Hawaii for instance, but when she played in Nebraska or Kansas, Dad's other work called. London must fall into the very-fun category, though, because Dad had cleared his schedule. Maddie liked it best when Dad came on tour, first of all because he always made everything more fun. But also because she liked watching him play piano for Mom at concerts. Maddie especially liked the way Mom's eyes lit up when she glanced over at Dad onstage.
"Baggage carousel number five!" Dad announced. "We'll take all the pink and purple suitcases, thank you very much."
The girls laughed as Dad collected their pile of suitcases, which were — like he said — all pink and purple. His was the exception, gray with orange stripes. When the belt started slowing down, he'd found all of the suitcases but one.
"Where's my suitcase?" Lulu wailed. "The one with all my toys?"
"I'm sure it's here," Miss Julia said, hurrying around the other side of the carousel.
Everyone looked, but Lulu's pink-striped case was nowhere to be seen.
"My suitcase is gone!" Lulu cried, tears filling her eyes. "My suitcase!"
Maddie wrapped her arms around her sister, hugging her tight. "It's okay, Lulu. We'll find it."
Lulu's wails only grew louder. "My suitcase, my suitcase, my suitcase!!"
"Listen, Lulu," Maddie said. "You can share my toys. I'll give you half of what's in my case for the whole trip, okay?"
At this, Lulu's wails quieted, and she looked up at Maddie with watery eyes. "But what if we don't find my toys ... ever?"
"We'll find your suitcase. I'm sure we will," Maddie said.
Mia came over and joined the hug. "Maybe there's a lost and found."
"Now there's an excellent idea," Miss Julia said, herding the girls toward an official-looking door. "Let's check in the office."
Dad stayed with the luggage cart. Mom went with the girls to talk to the airline officer.
"What happened?" he asked, looking from Lulu's tear-streaked face to the rest of the group.
"We're missing a suitcase," Miss Julia said.
"A pink one with stripes!" Lulu said, her voice rising into an almost-wail all over again.
Maddie rubbed Lulu's back in circles, the way that always helped calm her down.
"Hmm ..." the man said, furrowing his brow.
Maddie could see he really didn't want to disappoint Lulu. "Let me check in the back."
The minute he returned, eyebrows furrowed deep, Maddie knew. The suitcase wasn't there. If only it had been her toy case, or even her clothes ... anything other than Lulu's toys.
"Why don't you write your hotel's name on this form," he said to Mom. "I'll research where the bag might be, and deliver it myself as soon as we locate it. Where did you have your layover?"
"Washington D.C.," Mom said, writing quickly and passing the paper back to the man.
"You know what?" Maddie said to Lulu, pulling her sister out of the office before she could start wailing again. "Let's get Felicity. You can have her for the whole trip, okay?"
Dad unstacked suitcases so Maddie could pull out her favorite American Girl doll.
Lulu cradled Felicity in her arms. "Really? For the whole trip?"
"Yes, absolutely," Maddie said.
Mia gave Maddie a nice-thinking nod. Lulu loved Felicity in particular, because of her long red hair, and also since in all of Felicity's stories she rode horses, something Lulu was hoping she'd get to do very, very soon.
"And they'll find my suitcase sometime?" Lulu asked Mom, tears welling up again.
"You know what, I think we should pray that the suitcase finds its way to us with no trouble at all," Mom said.
"But should we really pray about a suitcase?" Mia asked. "I mean, is a suitcase important enough to pray about? No offense, Lulu," she added quickly.
"God wants to hear about all the things that matter to us," Dad said. "You're right, Mia, we shouldn't treat him like a genie in the sky who grants all our wishes. But praying is just as much for us as it is for God. When we pray, we are reminded that we can trust him with everything, no matter how big or small."
"I'll pray!" Lulu piped up.
"Perfect," Mom said.
Everyone closed their eyes, and Lulu said, "God, I know you're really good at finding stuff, so could you please look for my pink-striped suitcase? When you find it, we'll be at ... Wait, Mommy, where is our hotel?"
Maddie cracked her eyes open in time to catch Mom's mouth twitch, the faintest hint of a smile. "The Grand at Trafalgar Square."
"Right, what Mommy just said. We'll be staying there. And thank you for taking care of us, and for Mommy and Daddy and Miss Julia and Maddie and Mia and for Felicity too. Amen."
Maddie made a special effort not to look at Mia when she opened her eyes, because she knew they'd both burst out laughing and Lulu wouldn't understand. She bit the corner of her mouth and counted silently until the feeling passed.
"I think it's time to show Felicity her first bit of London," Mom said. "Are we ready?"
"Yes!" the girls all said.
"After you, ladies!" Dad said, gesturing toward the door.
Maddie, Mia, and Lulu linked arms and together led the way out to the streets of London.CHAPTER 3
The cab ride to the hotel took almost an hour, but Maddie didn't mind. Everywhere she looked something was completely new and surprising, from the way the driver's wheel was on the wrong side of the car, to the way the cab looked like a giant black beetle, to the way Mom, Dad, and Miss Julia rode in a seat that faced backward toward the girls. They careened through the streets of London. Careening was exactly the right word. Maddie felt more like she was on a roller coaster than in a car as they curved through roundabout after roundabout.
Outside her window, the city flew past, a city that looked like it couldn't exist in this century. Everything was made of stone and marble and iron, and still, every once in a while she'd see something from absolutely right now, like a Starbucks or a person sitting at a bus stop tapping away at a cell phone's glowing screen. The buildings were enormous, decorated with pillars and fancy carved window frames and sometimes even a carved gargoyle or odd face. Every building was topped a different way, with brick chimneys or round domes or spiked towers. The lampposts looked like they belonged in Narnia.
Every twenty seconds or so, Lulu would point out the window and say, "Ooh, look at that!" until no one even knew what she was pointing out at all. No one tried to figure it out, either, because they were busy trying to soak in the sights themselves. Even Mom and Dad oohed and aahed like kids. After a few minutes, Miss Julia stopped looking up every architectural feature on her phone and instead began snapping pictures again.
Mom asked the cabbie to pull up to the curb at Trafalgar Square so they could walk past the statues of lions and the fountain. "Can you circle the square a few times for us, and then pick us up?"
The cabbie agreed, and everyone climbed out of the car.
"It's like traveling in a time machine," Mia said, and then, "Wait, Lulu!"
But Lulu was already sprinting for the closest lion. She'd climbed halfway up by the time the rest of the group caught up with her. Lulu tucked Felicity under her arm and climbed the rest of the way.
"Look at me!" Lulu shouted, balancing herself on the lion's huge bronze back.
"Lulu, you absolutely must stay with us," Mom said. "No running off, no matter what, do you hear me?"
"But, Mommy! I'm riding a lion!"
Mom nudged Maddie and Mia toward the lion. "Might as well go up there and join her so Miss Julia can take some pictures."
Excerpted from London Art Chase by Natalie Grant. Copyright © 2016 Natalie Grant. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a really fun read! It’s filled with a tour life, adventure, mystery, and faith all tied into one. If you want a book that will teach your kids about making good choices and trusting in God, you’ll definitely want to encourage them to read this. The girls are just as curious as regular kids are and we learn a lot about other cultures. The questions about the telephone booths in London were a nice touch. I found something new to discover as the pages were turned. There are lots of little lessons such as learning to be brave and the seriousness of running off in London. It was superb and well-done! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Flyby Promotions for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is the first book in a new series "Glimmer Girls." It is a family where the mother is a Christian Singer who performs all over the world. The family, three sisters Maddie, Mia, and Lulu are clever and fun yet have normal sibling issues. Maddie and Mia are 10-year-old twins. Mia is very outgoing and loves to perform, while Maddie is more of an introvert and loves art. Lulu is six and she's a handful who causes a lot of trouble but is so cute she gets away with a lot. The dad and a nanny, Miss Julia, accompany the family as well. This is a Christian series, but does not over emphasize it. There is a mention of praying, asking God for signals to show what he wants you to do as well as talking to him. In this story the family is on a trip to London where Gloria Glimmer, is scheduled to perform several concerts. While the parents are busy with rehearsals and concerts the girls and their nanny go sight-seeing around London. There was a travelogue about London during this part of the story which was a good way to share information about London while enjoying the story. The trip on the double decker bus was fun, especially the part where Lulu is singing and dancing in the aisle, much to the embarrassment of Maddie, but the delight of the passengers. The mystery part of the story involves a painting at the London Art Gallery. The main reason I did not give this book 5 stars was the part where Maddie snuck out of the hotel on her own to try and recover a stolen painting. All turns out well with her safety, but a 10 year old alone on the streets in a foreign country is just a bit too scary for me as a parent and grandparent. Overall this is a great read for young girls, a little adventure, a little mystery, a little family dramatics, some good Christian morals and learning a little about another country. A great addition to a local library and definitely in Christian Schools, churches etc. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
London Art Chase by Natalie Grant is a wonderful book for young girls! My daughter loves books filled with adventure and London Art Chase by Natalie Grant is full of just that. She couldn't put the book down and finished it in record time. We read a little together at bedtime and I have to say even I was pretty interested in the story line. London Art Chase by Natalie Grant is the perfect book for young girls. I love that there's nothing inappropriate in the book which is often the case with books for young girls. London Art Chase by Natalie Grant is an awesome book and I highly recommend it! Disclosure: I received product(s) for free, in exchange for my honest review. I only recommend products I've used personally, and believe will be good fit for consumers.
LONDON ART CHASE is a really good book, I can really relate to the main character, Maddy, because she's really quiet like me. She has a hard time expressing what she wants. And sometimes in the book she just explodes and does what she wants. I hoped that by the end of the book she would find her passion and her courage. I really loved this book. A lot of times after she got in trouble the way she expressed her guilt made me practically start crying because we are so alike in many ways. 5 stars plus.