Monday, May 5, 2008

A Masterpiece!

This past week I read a great book for kids coming out in September--Masterpiece by Elise Broach. It's the story of Marvin, a beetle whose family lives under the Pompaday's kitchen sink in New York City. Marvin discovers his hidden talent for drawing when he creates a birthday present for James, the eleven-year-old boy who lives in the apartment the beetles call home. Even more important than his discovery of his talents, however, is Marvin's discovery of a true friendship with James. Marvin's talents lead Beetle and boy to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they try to help uncover who has been stealing Durer drawings.

Masterpiece reminded me of some of my absolute, all-time favorite stories from childhood-- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Claudia and Jamie are siblings who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art--they shower in fountains and sleep on historic beds!--and try to discover the secrets of a beautiful sculpture), The Borrowers (a family of teeny-tiny people who create an entire world underneath the floorboards just like Marvin's family), and Charlotte's Web (I was reminded of the beautiful descriptions of friendships--and the unexpected talents of a bug!). That's some seriously heady company to be keeping, and Masterpiece pulls it off beautifully. Three cheers!

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