Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review: The Calder Game (Ages 9-12)

book cover The Calder Game by Blue Balliett is a fast paced mystery filled with unusual characters, adventure and puzzles to solve. Three seventh grade friends, Calder, Petra and Tommy, work together using their unique talents to solve the case. Calder plays with pentominoes and loves a good puzzle. Petra has a passion to write and enjoys exploring word games. Tommy loves to collect things. The story is built around Alexander Calder, a famous American artist and sculptor. Alexander Calder had a passion for creating mobiles. Each mobile was a kaleidoscope of movement and form, changing depending upon the perspective of the viewer. The ephemeral nature of the art piece gives a dream-like quality to each work. Each piece of the mobile works together to create a unified whole, a fascinating work of art that always changes, never the same. We each see works of art differently based on our perspective and what is already in our own mind.

Calder Pillay travels with his father to a small English village. Many unusual characters live in this village. And there is a strange aura surrounding the area. An Alexander Calder sculpture in the village square suddenly disappears. And later, Calder Pillay disappears as well. Calder’s friends suddenly must fly to England to help his father find out what happened. What is the mystery surrounding this small village and where is Calder? What happened to the sculpture?

Youth as well as adults will enjoy reading this book. The novel explores art and suggests that we should be open, flexible and look at art from different perspectives. If you like art-themed books and baffling mysteries or puzzles, this book will be just the thing for you. You might just learn some things that you did not know about Alexander Calder as well.

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