Friday, March 24, 2006

Author: Blue Balliett

Chasing Vermeer is a book that I enjoyed reading but has not held up very well in my memory as time goes by. I think a great deal of the book's success comes from Brett Helquist's brilliant illustrations and puzzles and its billing as a kids' DaVinci Code.

I will be very interested to read the sequel, The Wright 3, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, which is due out in April. Helquist is doing the illustrations again. Balliett's fine arts subjects are dear to my heart and her characters, Petra, Calder and Tommy are very likeable. Publisher's Weekly has a very informative and interesting article about the books.

... “something interesting happened when I finished Chasing Vermeer,” said Balliett. “Calder and Petra were still very alive in my imagination; they were talking in there. Either I wasn’t through with them, or they weren’t through with me.” She took this creative nudge as an opportunity to give the characters “a completely different kind of art challenge. The Robie House is right in this neighborhood [Hyde Park, where Balliett lives], right in their neighborhood,” she explained. “I began looking at it as a huge, 3-D piece of art that allows kids the chance to walk around inside it and see it in different weather and different light; it encourages them to think about art in a new way.”

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