This book connects her to classmate and neighbor, Calder Pillay.
Soon after their friendship begins strange things start to happen and they find connections between events that don’t seem related at first.
But tracking down the Vermeer isn’t easy, as Calder and Petra try to figure out what a set of pentominos (mathematical puzzle pieces), a mysterious book about unexplainable phenomena and a suddenly very nervous Ms. When the thief ups the ante by declaring that he or she may very well destroy the painting, the two friends know they have to make the pieces of the puzzle fit before it’s too late!
Already being heralded as The Da Vinci Code for kids, Chasing Vermeer will have middle grade readers scrutinizing art books as they try to solve the mystery along with Calder and Petra.
Their burgeoning friendship is strengthened when a creative thief steals a valuable Vermeer painting en route to Chicago, their home town.
When the thief leaves a trail of public clues via the newspaper, Petra and Calder decide to try and recover the painting themselves.Will Petra and Calder be able to find out who the art thief is?Will they be able to get out of a dangerous situation alive?It isn’t long before a Vermeer painting goes missing and Petra and Calder find themselves in the middle of an art scandal.As the mystery unfolds they must use their problem solving skills, research techniques, and their own unique strategies, like pentominoes, to try to find out “who done it”.I enjoyed the way Petra and Calder worked on the mystery because they had such a unique way of looking at the clues.I recommend this book to anyone from third grade through 7th grade. They are not really friends, but become good friends through this adventure. Hussy is very interested in art and uses a creative way to teach the class.I also think that adults and older kids will be captivated by this fast paced story. She uses Vermeer's "A Lady Writing" and "The Geographer" in presenting questions about whether letter writing is important and ideas in art as "a lie that tells the truth."When Vermeer's "A Lady Writing" disappears in transit from Washington D. to Hyde Park, Calder and Petra decide to try and find it. Using an old book as a source of idea and thinking.Calder Pillay enjoys puzzles and is fascinated with pentominoes. Secret codes, pentominoes and other puzzles aren't just part of the story, they are also to be found by the reader in the illustrations in the book.There are way too many coincidences throughout the book, and the finale is pretty disappointing and flat.The two main characters are likable, but it would’ve been more interesting if they had used their intellect to solve the mystery rather than rely on dreams and coincidences.