Monday, December 15, 2008

Masterpiece by Elise Broach

I picked up this book because I had just finished Elise Broach’s other book, Shakespeare’s Secret, and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, although it’s quite different from Shakespeare’s Secret. This story is about Marvin, a beetle who lives in the apartment of a boy named James in New York City. James is a quiet boy, kind of overwhelmed by his career-driven mother and step-father, and his artist father. Marvin is an adventurous beetle, who loves to explore James’ apartment and swim in his pool, a bottle cap filled with water. One day while exploring, he discovers a pen-and-ink set in James' room. He dips his front legs in the open ink, and starts to draw the scene that he sees out the window. The picture Marvin creates is beautiful, but James’ family thinks that he was the one who drew it. James discovers Marvin’s talent, and they even figure out how to communicate with each other. Their friendship grows as they become involved with helping to solve an art theft at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and during the adventure they both learn the value of honesty.

This is an adorable book. The friendship between James and Marvin is one of the most touching ones I’ve ever read about. Kelly Murphy’s illustrations of Marvin and the pictures he creates are one of my favorite parts of this book. If you like mysteries about art like Chasing Vermeer and the sequels, or books about animals, you’ll love Masterpiece! Review by Katie Corrigan

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