Sarah's Stars

Blue Balliett. The Calder Game
Scholastic $19.99  ISBN 978-0-439-85207-4  379 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

Just as she spoke, a man's deep voice boomed nearby, and another shouted back. They heard the sounds of running feet and a boat engine. They broke into a trot, reached the top of a hill, and slithered down the bank to the crowd of police officers gathered near a small, blue police boat.

From where they stood on a pile of rocks, both could see: curled in the stern of the boat, wrapped in red blankets, was a body.

Calder and Petra from their two previous adventures, Chasing Vermeer and The Wright Three, as well as Calder's friend Tommy from the latter, are back in another smART mystery that blends suspense, art, math and history into a thoughtful and satisfying literary puzzle for eager readers of all ages.

In this particular story, we are introduced to Alexander Calder and his work of beautiful and creative mobiles. As author Blue Balliett challenges us to think outside of the box, the Calder we know is on his way to a sleepy English town with his dad. Meanwhile, tensions between Petra and Tommy are rising and it doesn't help that their strict new teacher is the exact opposite of kind Ms. Hussey. After going to Alexander Calder's exhibit at the local art museum, Calder is surprised to see a vibrant Calder statue in the middle of the English town's main square. The locals are less than pleased and the mystery deepens as Calder receives several strange reactions when he reveals his name. And then, the statue vanishes. And so does Calder. His father frantic with worry, along with Ms. Sharpe and the feuding Tommy and Petra all join in the search to find the missing boy. But time is running out. Will the mystery be solved before both Calders come to serious harm?

Blue Balliett's work with Calder and Petra always provides an interesting, cozy read with plenty of twists and turns. My battered copy of Chasing Vermeer is a testament to that. The two children seem a little too alike to be separate characters at first, but the addition of Tommy rounds out the trio to make everyone likeable and entertaining. The Calder Game and its prequels are all original, touching and easy to read. They will make you see the world in a completely different light, creating interest in seemingly ordinary things. The Calder Game will make you think, it will make you ask questions and it will make you learn. Whether or not you choose to listen to what the author really wants to say, The Calder Game still makes an excellent read.

I give Blue Balliett's The Calder Game four stars.


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