Chasing Vermeer Review

Title: Chasing Vermeer

Author: Blue Balliett

Illustrator:Brett Helquist

Publisher: Scholastic


Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Fiction, Art


This follows Petra and Calder on their quest to solve the mystery of the lost painting done by Vermeer. These are two kids in school who have an appetite for mysteries and they will stop at nothing to solve this mystery?

Style of Writing:

I enjoyed that we got both sides to the story of both Petra and Calder it made it really interesting because you got both interpretations of their thinking of the mystery which were so different. I really loved that there was a lot of dialogue throughout the book because a lot of books I read have big emphasis on description and thoughts which annoys me at times. The dialogue made the book more about social interaction which I always think is fascinating.


Theme of mystery was fantastic so thrilling even for a middle grade novel it kept you on your toes on what was the next clue and how to figure it out. The involvement of school gave the book more relatability. The theme of fear was done very well for kids because it had that excitement but didn’t come across as too scary. The theme of friendship was done beautifully it was such a sweet and interesting dynamic of a boy and girl friendship which I enjoyed.


I loved Petra she was such a feisty character who had this eagerness that I really enjoyed. Calder was such an interesting character because of the way he processed information and the way he used his Pentominoes. He was also quite brave. The thief was a fantastic character so mysterious all the way to the end and through the use of him sending letters to the press which made you always question and try to piece together who it might be. Mrs Sharpe was that funny and snippy classic old lady character. Ms Hussey was so sweet and such an interesting teacher I wish I had had her at school.


The plot was thrilling and exciting. Always kept you thinking about the mystery, I almost wanted to start writing notes and figuring it out. I loved that the story tied into so much of their home and school life which just made the plot all that more intriguing.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this mystery middle grade it was cute and thrilling. The illustrations were beautifully done in black and white which added suspense to the novel with the use of shading. I loved that the characters had very defined facial features in the illustrations. This is a read for those who love middle grade fiction, mysteries and especially good for kids as there is extra material in the back.

4 stars

If you prefer to a video review here is my Youtube 5 minute review


If you are a fan of the Chasing Vermeer series or of Blue Balliett or Brett Helquist’s work let me know in the comments below I would love to hear your thoughts on this mystery!

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© 2018 Emily Claire Cannings

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