Masterpiece

by Elise Broach

{ 2008 | Henry Holt and Co. | 304 pgs }

If you enjoyed Chasing Vermeer, this is another book you should definitely check out. Masterpiece is the story of a beetle (yes, the bug) named Marvin who it turns out has a remarkable talent for pen-and-ink drawings, using his two front legs as pens. The drawings are incredibly detailed and, of course, miniature. Marvin lives in the house of a boy named James, whose parents are divorced; his father is an artist, and through a misunderstanding, everyone thinks James has done the drawing. His dad takes him to see a Durer exhibit at an art museum. The story progresses from there, with both Marvin and James getting mixed up in an elaborate art theft plot. Oh, and they learn about Durer. Naturally.

Masterpiece is reminiscent of Chasing Vermeer in many ways, but a main difference is that this story is directed towards a younger audience. That isn’t to say that I, being a somewhat older audience member, didn’t enjoy it – on the contrary, it was an immensely fun way to spend the Bwun’s naptime. When the Bwun woke up he even sat with me while I read aloud to him for about 15 minutes. (That’s a LONG attention span for the Bwun!) Admittedly, the plot is silly – a beetle who draws? And has a family who takes vacations to the greenhouse? – but it’s still a quick, fun, art-inspired read.

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