Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett


Book Summary

The first of three books featuring Petra and Calder, who are both awkward students at a Chicago middle school.  Petra feels lost in her gigantic family, and Calder is missing a good friend who has just moved away.  The theft of a painting begins new discussions about art in their community. Strange things begin to happen, and both Petra and Calder start to believe they aren't just coincidences.

Chasing Vermeer book cover
Chasing Vermeer

Book Review

This mystery is appealing to many readers, in part because it introduces pentominoes, which are defined shapes similar to tangrams, and includes a secret pentomino code.  The story raises good questions about the responsibility of ordinary people to think for themselves and not rely upon experts. 

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Teamwork
  • Puzzles; Thinking Outside the Box
  • Responsibility to do the right thing
  • Artists; Painting; Vermeer

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions Coming Soon**

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