Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeer

by Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist


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

Chasing Vermeer joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

When a book of unexplainable occurences brings Petra and Calder 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, where no one is spared from suspicion. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their problem solving skills, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has stumped even the FBI?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756951085
Publisher: Scholastic HRDerbacks
Publication date: 05/28/2005
Pages: 254
Sales rank: 239,178
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Blue Balliett is the author of several bestselling, acclaimed mystery novels, including Hold Fast, 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.

Customer Reviews

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Chasing Vermeer (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
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
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.
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!!!
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
This book is very great especially of you like art.It is also a book of puzzles and mysteries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a true masterpiece. Anyone lucky enough to read this book will savor every moment of it. This book is perfect for any reader and especially mystery fans. I am not a mystery fan but, I adored this novel. The only advice I can give you is READ THIS BOOK!!!!! Plus, if you are yearning for more, check out the sequel, The Wright Three. In my opinion, anything that comes from the pen of Blue Balliet has to be at least 5 stars. Check out this book in your local library or stop by Barnes Noble for this amazing book at an amazing price!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is really one of the best books I've ever read. It's very difficult to find a good mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The mysterious absents of the Lady (a painting) has stumped the police and the FBI. The only people left to save it is Petra and Calder. 3 people get a mysterious note sounding nice but really isn¿t! It tells them not to tell the athorities or else their life will be in more danger. Calder and Lorna team up through a book named LO by Charles Fort. Petra¿s dreams about the lady in the painting. She finds out it is somewhere in dark wood. They check everywhere including the basment of the school. They go through many obsticklels but nothing will stop them. The author puts me and keeps me in suspense. She also makes the setting and the whole plot very realistic. Every chapter is filled with mystery and suspense. It is a good book relating to friendship and teamwork. The author is also very good at making me want to know who did it? I would have never suspected it to be who it was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can not believe that there are bad reviews for this book. It was amazing. Blue Balliett is an amazing author. I believe that the only reason anyone would not like this book is because they don't have the intellectual capacity to handle it. It is a complicated book, that is why it is good. It is very inspiring and creative. I love this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I read this book, I was astonished at the word choice and how good the mystery was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book get's you interested and then disapoints you. It can't catch you the whole time. I reccomend not wasting your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was one of the best mysteries i've ever read. i liked it because it wasn't like you could name the 'bad guy' by the sixth chapter. well written too, and the illustrations were cool. (did you notice: on the cover there are also pentominoes?)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. That's all that needs to be said. It has life in it and I loved how you could guess the perpetraters and it would be someone else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! Absolutely fantastic and so, so, so well done. Brett Helquist's illustrations rule (as always) and Blue Balliet has just taken me off the face of the earth the the power of awe and excitement I got from Chasing Vermeer. This book is so good, well written, amazing... It also introduced me to pentominoes. (And I now own the very same pentominoes that Calder has: yellow plastic pocket pentominoes.) This book is so great I can't get over it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I began Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, I knew immediately that it was going to be a book I would never forget. And I was right, for this tale is beautifully written and relatively puzzling, but indeed rewarding. I'm anxious for more of this author's books to be published and cannot wait to obtain them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was great and amazing. I beleive that this book was perfect and heleped the reader expend their imagination and pay attention to things that we never thought of. If we look the right way then we can see the world in a different way. A magical and connected world. If you want a great fantastic read read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. the way the kids used logic and their brains and how these two kids got hooked up together made such a great story. I read this to my little brother and i am 17 and i think i enjoyed it as much as he did!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly reccomend this book I personally could not put it down it had perfect discriptions of every character which made it very imaginative which is very good I also loved the illustrations because I am a huge Snicket fan and Brett Helquist did this book and the Snicket series which I found very outstanding and in this book there is little pentominoes in this story and in every illustration you have to find a little shape which I belive is very creative and wants the reader to go on any way buy this book it's worth every penny.