Blue Balliett Books Make Old Dead Artists Fun for Kids

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I’ve been reading Chasing Vermeer. I’m sure I first heard about Blue Balliet’s books through Pragmatic Mom, my go-to resource on all things kid lit.

Chasing Vermeer- Blue Balliet

This book hooked me for 3 reasons: It’s an art mystery, it features Vermeer (one of my favs), and it is set in Chicago. By the way, no one ever mentions illustrators when it’s not specifically a picture book, so I’ll give Brett Helquist a little mention here. He’s also the author from the Series of Unfortunate Events books, and the Bunnicula books.

I’m having fun reading it, but my younger self would have been absolutely and totally absorbed by it- with all sorts of codes and clues, adventure, mystery and the two main characters are sort of misfits. I love how Balliet weaves math, science and art into a really fun read that no doubt sparks kids’ imaginations. It is often called the Da Vinci Code for kids, and I think it probably peaks the same sort of excited curiosity in kids that the Da Vinci Code did for many adults.

The follow up books, The Wright 3 (based on Frank Lloyd Wright), and The Calder Game (Alexander Calder), complete the series. If they are as fun reads as the first book, I will be done with all three by the end of Spring break.

Have your kids read any of these? Have you? This is a fun way to introduce some old dead artists to kids through the power of fiction!

Find Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, and The Calder Game on Amazon.



  1. Easepod
    03/22/2013 / 4:23 pm

    Check out Balliett’s website at Her latest book, Hold Fast, is the best of them all.

  2. 03/23/2013 / 10:08 am

    My son and I loved this series – and you are so correct, books are a great way to introduce kids to artists they may not hear of otherwise!

  3. 04/03/2013 / 4:06 pm

    Oh these sound really good I want to read them too!

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