Today’s pick: Masterpiece by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Henry Holt and Company, 2008
From the publisher’s website:Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays’ apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can’t go through with the plan without Marvin’s help. And that’s where things get really complicated (and interesting!). This fast-paced mystery will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.
My take:I love reading about tiny creatures and their different perspective on our world, so I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of one of my old favourites “The Cricket in Times Square” by George Seldon, because of the writing style and the sense of adventure. The idea of a beetle that draws and helps to solve the mystery of a famous stolen Durer drawing was fascinating. I’d love to draw as well as Marvin the beetle!
As a writer, I admired the way Elise Broach created a close relationship between the boy James and the beetle Marvin, especially when Marvin couldn’t communicate by talking.
Favourite quotes:“The most important things in a friendship didn't have to be said out loud.”
“When you saw different parts of the world, you saw different parts of yourself.”
Other info:Elise Broach lives in Connecticut but her favourite cities are New York and Paris.
Masterpiece has been recognized with the E.B. White Read Aloud Award by the Association of Booksellers for Children in 2009 and as an ALA Notable Book, as well as named the Best Children's Book of 2008 by Publisher's Weekly .
On her website, Elise Broach says: “It still amazes me—and seems an incredible privilege—to get paid for making up stories.”
Other books by this author:
Novels:Missing On Superstition Mountain, (Book I in the Superstition Mountain Trilogy), Henry Holt and Company, June 2011
Desert Crossing, Henry Holt and Company, May 2006
Shakespeare’s Secret, Henry Holt and Company, May 2005
Picture Books:Snowflake Baby, Little, Brown, November 2011
Seashore Baby, Little, Brown, April 2010
Gumption!, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, April 2010
When Dinosaurs Came With Everything, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, September 2007
Cousin John is Coming!, Dial Books for Young Readers, June 2006
Wet Dog! Dial Books for Young Readers, May 2005
Hiding Hoover, Dial Books for Young Readers, July 2005
What the No-Good Baby is Good For, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, May 2005
For more, visit Elise Broach’s website.
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