Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Calder Game

Blue Balliett and Brett Helquist have written a series of children's books that offer up an engaging dose of art history cleverly wrapped up in a mystery / adventure story of three 7th grade sleuths; Calder, Petra, and Tommy. 

The first two books were about Vermeer "Chasing Vermeer (2004)" and Frank Lloyd Wright The Wright 3 (2006). The third installment entitled "The Calder Game" focuses on Alexander Calder. 

I think we could have seen that one coming.

The gist of this story is that the three friends visit a Calder exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (I think I may have seen them there), and then later Calder (the boy, not the artist) and his father travel to a remote area in England that happens to have an anonymously donated Calder stabile on display - The Minotaur.

The mystery begins when both boy and sculpture dissapear on the same night.

I think this is a wonderful way to expose young readers to art.  The reviews on Amazon are generally pretty good for these books as they are known for captivating writing, interesting puzzles (there is a puzzle in this book that is based on the elements of a mobile!), and good characterization.  I did see a few complaints about the plot line on this one though....

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll read The Calder Game because I can pretty much guess the ending and the solution to the mystery of the missing boy and sculpture.

My bet is that a secret agent from the Calder Foundation snatches them both up and ships them off to New York City where they are hidden deep under West 25th Street in a dark, dank, storage room, never to be seen again.  

The Calder Game