Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. il by Brett Helquist.
Scholastic Inc: NY, 2004.

Exciting and original, Chasing Vermeer connects several seemingly unrelated puzzles. It starts with 3 letters from an art thief who wants to revise the art history record regarding Johannes Vermeer. It continues with a teacher who sets her class to work on the puzzle without them knowing it is a real problem. Two of her observant, quick-thinking students follow clues from the beginning as they were prompted by an old author, Charles Fort, to watch for and question connections between unexplainable events. One of the students uses pentominoes to direct his thoughts and communicate with a friend. His friend has moved to New York with his stepdad, and they have a missing boy in the neighborhood.

Balliett's first novel is stimulating and fun-not the ordinary novel. It encourages the reader to think and look into the ideas presented. A very intriguing mystery and story.

related-Johannes Vermeer, art theft, coincidences, connections, unexplainable events, pentominoes, exploration of the letter as a form of communication, art history, art critics, Hyde Park-Chicago, John Dewey-University School, student-directed learning, art comparison, geometry, puzzles, mystery, detective stories

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