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The Calder Game Hardcover – May 1, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

The Calder Game + Chasing Vermeer + The Wright 3
Price for all three: $33.60

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  • Chasing Vermeer $14.12
  • The Wright 3 $6.53

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439852072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439852074
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Those precocious art sleuths Calder, Petra, and Tommy are back, and this mystery is every bit as intricate, engaging, and delightful as Chasing Vermeer (2004) and The Wright 3 (2006, both Scholastic). The three seventh graders go with their class to an exhibit of Alexander Calder's mobiles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Soon after, Calder and his father travel to a remote village in England that has an anonymously donated Calder sculpture, the Minotaur, and a maze at Blenheim Park. Both the boy and the sculpture disappear on the same night. Balliett's love of words and her ability to tuck hidden, subtle clues into her story are evident throughout. Petra and Tommy fly to England to help Calder's dad and the police find their friend. The kids see mobiles everywhere: in the leaves, flying crows, paper trash. Indeed, the whole story is structured as a mobile, with plot and characters twisting and turning, moving and dancing around each other. The young sleuths are able to take what seems to be chance and coincidence and apply their own conclusions to the puzzle wrapped inside this mystery. Balliett's wonderful writing is full of foreshadowing, literary allusions, wordplay, and figurative language. Calder's signature yellow pentominoes play an important role, and the kids create a new code. Helquist's detailed illustrations enhance this multilayered story. Fans of the author's previous novels are in for a treat in this latest adventure.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Calder, Petra, and Tommy, seventh-graders with a penchant for solving art mysteries, return in a new adventure that takes them across the sea. When Calder’s father goes to England to attend a conference, he takes Calder along and, rather surprisingly, allows him to wander the streets of tiny Woodstock, where they are staying, and explore nearby Blenheim Palace alone. Before Calder leaves, his class visits an exhibit of famous artist Alexander Calder’s work, including an innovation of the museum, the Calder Game. It invites participants to make or visualize mobiles of real or imaginary objects, and throughout the story, the trio continues to play in various ways. Once in Woodstock, the boy is shocked to see one of Calder’s sculptures, a recent donation that is despised by the residents. Then the sculpture goes missing, and so does the boy. Both the disappearance of the unsupervised Calder and the arrival of Petra and Tommy to hunt for their friend are contrivances. But to focus on the warts misses the beauty of the story as well as its potent messages about observation, imagination, and connections. Balliett doesn’t shirk from putting her characters in danger, but what’s fascinating is how she weaves in the kids’ attraction to puzzles, words, and found objects as she moves them through literal and figurative mazes. Balliett again offers readers new ways to think. Grades 5-8. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

Blue Balliett grew up in New York City, where she often visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Frick Collection. She took public transportation to school around the city, and discovered early that every crowded bus or train is packed with mystery and drama'and that stories are everywhere. Balliett studied art history at Brown University. She and her family lived year-round on Nantucket Island for many years, and now live in Chicago. Before becoming a full-time writer, she taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Balliett is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award, the first time the award was given to a children's book writer. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show and has been featured in various national and international publications.

Customer Reviews

I really recomend this book, with cleverly written story and mystery.
Lillian
Together they will try and solve the mystery of where Calder is and what happened to the sculpture.
TeensReadToo
We have read all the books out loud as a family, and we all have found pleasure in these books.
B.M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Yoomi VINE VOICE on April 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The gang is all back, Calder, Tommy, and Petra, ready for another mystery to solve. It's the same formula with a different setting (England) and a different artist (Alexander Calder). But the three kids are finding balance between themselves, kind of like the mobiles that they all find so fascinating.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on June 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Calder, Tommy, and Petra are back for another art-filled mystery.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on April 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Balliett, Blue. The Calder Game. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. Scholastic Press. 2008.

Another winner by the author of "Chasing Vermeer" and "The Wright 3"! Calder travels to England with his dad and gets caught up in an adventure that involves the disappearance of an Alexander Calder sculpture, just newly installed in a small village square. When Calder goes missing, his friends, Petra and Tommy, fly over to help find him. The story is absorbing and fast-paced. The illustrations provide tantalizing opportunities for puzzle connoisseurs to decode a message. This is a wonderful series for children, 4th grade and up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate Jones on April 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This third volume following the bestselling Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3 continues the adventures of three sixth-graders--Calder, Petra and Tommy--in solving another art mystery.

When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he encounters both mazes and mystery -- including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture (Minotaur) in the town square. Both the boy (who was named after the artist) and the sculpture disappear on the same night!

Petra and Tommy fly to England to help Calder's father find him. This mystery twists and turns like a Calder mobile in high wind. Who is the mysterious girl with the camera? Who is the injured man found in the woods? Is there a secret room behind the waterfalls? What is the meaning of the puzzling graffiti left in place of the missing sculpture? Is there an even more twisted game afoot?

Blue Balliett captures the personalities and minds of each character with deft strokes and draws the atmosphere for each scene with masterful nuances. It feels authentic because the author actually visited all the places she describes -- the 1000-year-old village, the graveyards and mazes, the palaces and gardens, the waterfalls and bridges. She has a fine ear for the subtleties of accents and characters' turns of phrase. This is a book to savor.

In this volume, Blue Balliett focuses on the art of Alexander Calder, whose mobiles (hanging) and stabiles (floor-based) revolutionized modern art and gave it a fourth dimension, motion through time. The ever-changing perspective that never looks the same twice leads us to reflect on change in general...now you see it, now you don't...and how each experience changes us as well, moment by moment.
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