July 2008 Indie Next List
“A marvelous story about a boy who doesn't fit in, a beetle who longs for adventure, and how they find each other. The interaction between the two rings true even as they become involved in an art heist at the Museum of Modern Art.”
— Trish Brown, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA
A New York Times bestselling middle grade mystery novel full of adventure, friendship, and stolen art.
Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays' apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Durer. But James can't go through with the plan without Marvin's help. And that's where things get really complicated (and interesting ). This fast-paced mystery will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.
In Shakespeare's Secret Elise Broach showed her keen ability to weave storytelling with history and suspense, and Masterpiece is yet another example of her talent. This time around it's an irresistible miniature world, fascinating art history, all wrapped up in a special friendship-- something for everyone to enjoy.
Masterpiece is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
About the Author
Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of books for children and young adults, including Desert Crossing and Shakespeare's Secret, as well as several picture books. Her books have been selected as ALA notable books, Junior Library Guild selections, an E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and nominated for an Edgar Award, among other distinctions. Ms. Broach holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University. She was born in Georgia and lives in the woods of rural Connecticut, walking distance from three farms, a library, a post office and two country stores. Kelly Murphy has illustrated many books for children including Hush Little Dragon. She lives in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.
"Inventive ... Broach ... packs this fast-moving story with perennially seductive themes: hidden lives and secret friendships, miniature worlds lost to disbelievers ... Broach and Kelly show readers something new."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "Delightful intricacies of beetle life ... blend seamlessly with the suspenseful caper as well as the sentimental story of a complicated-but-rewarding friendship ... Murphy’s charming pen-and-ink drawings populate the short chapters of this funny, winsome novel."
--Kirkus Reviews "This marvelous story is sure to be a hit."
--School Library Journal