Author: Blue Balliett
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
My rating: 4 of 5
Prequels: Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3
This volume is an inventive mystery combining elements of art, mathematics, word-studies, psychology, and many others into a fascinating story. In this book, Tommy, Petra, and Calder are introduced to the works of artist Alexander Calder, only to get caught up in a seeming crime involving one of his works. They are also challenged throughout the story to play the Calder Game, thinking of ideas in groups of five in ways that balance like a mobile. Seeing the individuals in the story change and grow, both individually and in their relationships, is a rewarding part of the story. I think one of the most fascinating aspects of Balliett’s work, however, is the way in which she clearly demonstrates that different people have different ways of thinking. This is something that, I think, most everyone “knows”, but that very few are actually aware of. Balliett’s writing makes it easier to really grasp how those differences in thinking alter our perceptions of the world around us. This is an excellent book for those who love art, enjoy a good mystery, and have a vibrant sense of discovery and adventure.