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