Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal. As Petra and 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?
©2004 Elizabeth Balliett Klein; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group
"Thick with devilish red herrings, this smart, playful story never stops challenging (and exhilarating) the audience." (Publishers Wekly)
"Puzzles, codes, letters, number and wordplay, a bit of danger, a vivid sense of place, and a wealth of quirky characters enrich the exciting, fast-paced story that's sure to be relished by mystery lovers." (School Library Journal)
"Art, intrigue, and plenty of twists and turns make this art mystery a great read." (Kirkus Reviews)
Ok, so I'll admit I picked this after reading reviews that compared it to Lemony Snicker and others. And even as an adult I enjoy those sort of books, funny, good characters, an interesting story and sometimes a bit of a puzzle thrown in.
This book meets all those criteria, so I should have loved it, but I didn't. I didn't hate it, but having listened all the way through I was left feeling... I don't know if I want to say unfulfilled, or let down, or maybe incomplete.
I know there are more books in the series but I don't feel like I have to start listening to the others straightaway in the way I did with Maryrose Wood's Incorrigible Children books, or with the lemony snicket ones. I remember the dreadful wait for the release of the next unfortunate event story. And I'm already wise enough to wait til September before starting all the wrong questions.
I know this is a horribly inconclusive review, but it's because I still don't know if I enjoyed the book or not, sorry.
"Not great art, but a pleasant"
What fun! Precocious kids, a curmudgeonly old woman, stolen art, and mathematical clues -- all my favorite things. (Okay, I teach 8th grade math.)
Young readers usually like mysteries, especially when the detectives are kids, and this one should satisfy. Petra and Calder are very bright and a little weird, but very likeable. The mystery is solid enough to amuse an adult who is in a relatively low-key mood.
The reader does a good job. She does a good job with the children's voices without being grating.
The only caveat is that there are some rather odd jumps in the narration, so that, at one point I went back to be sure I didn't have a (clumsily) abridged version. And the ending is a little abrupt.
"Pronunciation switches up"
I liked the story but the narrator switches up the pronunciation of one of the character's names which was distracting.
I have a book group of 3rd graders in the middle of intense reading and discussion. They more read the book. They delved into the story in deep reading, comparing, predicting, finding patterns, debating the characters' action. What more could I ask?
This was a fun listen, great for kids for thinking out and solving problems and gives them somethings to ponder on. Nicely narrated and a few fun twists in the plot.
I got this for my Youth Book Club- it was fantastic!
"Pick another book"
This was a horribly boring book. The plot is dull and the reader is not any better. I would not recommend the author.
"Not worth your time"
This was hugely disappointing. The reader sounds like someone who reads the listening tests on ESL tapes, i.e. totally grating and annoying, with no real warmth or emotion. Not to mention the story itself stinks. The protagonists are irritatingly self-satisfied in their intellectual superiority and characterization is broad and obvious or paper thin. I am really surprised at the success this book has been having, but I suppose if you market anything the right way it will do well.
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