Chasing Vermeer is a mystery book for grades 4th-8th. It has been described as The Da Vinci code for kids. The book starts off with a mysterious letter sent to three seemingly random people. The letter asks the receivers to help solve an old crime involving a famous painting called A Lady Writing A Letter by Johannes Vermeer.
The book follows sixth graders Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay. They are classmates and friends at the University School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The two sixth graders are a little different from the other kids at school. They are both very smart and enjoy puzzles and mental challenges. They are brought together through a series of strange coincidences involving an old book and several quirky characters. They combine their brain power and problem solving skills to figure out the mystery of a missing painting by one of the world’s most famous artists.
Chasing Vermeer is a fun read full of puzzles and mystery. The readers become part of the mystery through the author’s and illustrator’s use of secret codes and hidden messages. Blue Balliett introduces readers to pentominoes (a mathematical tool of geometry) as a clue to solve the mystery. Brett Helquist (who is also the illustrator of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events) includes a hidden message in his illustrations throughout the book. If you like mysteries that involve imaginative thinking and solving puzzles this may be a good book for you!
There are two sequels to check out as well: