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The Calder Game Hardcover – May 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
If you enjoyed "Chasing Vermeer" and "The Wright 3", this is a must read. In all three of her books, Blue Balliett does a great job of making artists interesting to kids that may not otherwise have an interest in art. (Adults too! I'm inspired to go see the Alexander Calder exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.) It's also a great message about how differences can be cool and art can change people, if they just let it in.
The only thing that bothered me is that the kids were able to get a passport in one day. (It took 8 weeks to get mine!) That just wouldn't be possible in our day and age. But it's just a small detail.
PROS - We all learned about Alexander Calder's art and enjoyed the art ties to Banksy. The British history and geography (US and UK) woven into the story inspired fun conversations, too. Although the author reaches a bit far trying to describe the thoughts of the characters (particularly the way they "analyze" the world through really intricate patterns that they notice), Balliett gives readers a new prism with which to view the world.
CONS - Many elements of the story are unrealistic -- that's not a problem in and of itself. I remember the joys of feeling empowered above my years when I was a kid! However, there are a few elements that are just plain dangerous.
- Caulder (the main character) travels to England with his dad. While dad attends a multi-day conference, he tells his son to explore the city until he comes home around 5pm. REALLY? Caulder has a series of discomforting 'culture-shock' encounters. Within three days he decides to meet up and go someplace with a stranger. He leaves a short note for his dad with no information, except to tell his dad to not wait up for him. YIKES. Perhaps readers are supposed to identify that this decision is counter to the "don't go places with strangers" life lesson, but the danger and folly of this decision are never discussed. Caulder's fate is the cliff-hanger of the entire story.
- After Caulder is missing for a few days, his two best friends arrive in England to help look for him. They are accompanied by a woman who is a friend of their teacher. Really?Read more ›
Calder Pillay is excited to travel to England with his father, especially since it means a week off from school and his all-too-strict new seventh grade teacher, Ms. Button. With Calder taking off, the fledgling friendship between Petra and Tommy is at stake, for Calder is the glue that keeps them from hating each other. Once in the small Oxfordshire town of Woodstock, Calder is surprised to discovre a sculpture in the town square by his namesake, Alexander Calder. He is even more surprised by the townspeople's reaction to it - they hate it and wish it was gone. Well, one morning they awaken to find that their wish has been granted, but not only is the sculpture missing, so is Calder! His father and the local police are at a loss to know what happened to him or the sculpture, so Petra and Tommy, along with Mrs. Sharpe, are flown over to investigate. What unravels is a unique mystery that is not as ominous as it initially seems, but is certainly as puzzling as some of the intricate mazes, codes, and puzzles that these three children love.
Throughout the novel, Balliett mixes in opinions about art (even making up the Calder statue in the town), referencing not only Calder but also the anonymous London street artist Banksy.Read more ›
It all starts when they take a field trip to the art museum to see the new exhibit featuring work by Alexander Calder. Even though their nasty and fun-sucking teacher tries to make the trip as miserable as possible, the three friends manage to find great inspiration and fascination in Alexander Calder's work.
Before long, Calder's dad invites him on a trip to England with him. Calder is super excited about the opportunity and learns that the town they're staying in is home to one of Alexander Calder's sculptures, The Minotaur. When Calder and his dad arrive in the small town, they find that not everyone is as excited about the sculpture as Calder is -- and quite a few people want it gone.
While Calder's dad is off at his seminars all day, Calder starts exploring the town and even goes to the famous Blenheim Palace gardens and maze. This is the ultimate place for Calder as he loves puzzles and mazes. One night, though, both Calder and the sculpture go missing.....a coincidence... maybe? When Calder doesn't show up after a couple of nights, his worry-stricken father brings in some back-up, Petra and Tommy. Together they will try and solve the mystery of where Calder is and what happened to the sculpture.
As always, Blue Balliett has created an intricately woven story which takes art, mystery, and friendship and turns it into one heck of a book. What's especially nice about THE CALDER GAME is that you don't necessarily have to have read the other books in the series (CHASING VERMEER and THE WRIGHT 3) to understand what's going on; while it would be nice, this story is complete on its own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first book in this series, Chasing Vermeer, was excellent. The second one, The Wright 3, was okay. This one is just not good. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Willow1190
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK FOR SUMMER READING.I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE ONE YOU WILL ENJOY IT. GREAT BOOKPublished on August 11, 2013 by Jalen Dewalt
Love this book and author. She is a fun author to read. It has also gotten me and my children interested in pentaminos.Published on July 17, 2013 by Don Larsen
Blue Balliett is such a good author!!! This book is very educational and makes u feel like u can do anything. Read morePublished on June 17, 2013 by Sally Smith