Book Review: Masterpiece | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Book Review: Masterpiece 

Published November 10, 2014 at 10:44 a.m.

I’m always trying to get my two kids, Thomas, 12, and Kate,11, to read more. That means finding books they’ll love. A great place to start is the library's Dorothy Canfield Fisher section, which is devoted to high-quality, new, American children’s books selected by a panel of literary Vermonters.

My kids respond best to stories with plot twists and a bit of mystery. When I came upon the fast-paced Masterpiece by Elise Broach, I knew it would win them over. And when I finally read it to them, I couldn’t wait to see their reactions to each twist and turn. 

The protagonist, James Pompaday, lives in a New York City apartment with his mom, stepdad and little brother, William. Mrs. Pompaday works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and James’ biological dad is an artist. Unfortunately, James hasn’t inherited either of their artistic talents. When he receives a pen-and-ink set for his 11th birthday, though, things change quickly. 

Marvin, a beetle who lives with his family under the Pompaday’s kitchen sink, only emerges to gather loose Cheerios or the occasional M & M. But one night, he sees the ink bottle and paper on James’ desk and decides to surprise him with a picture. James discovers the amazing drawing — and Marvin — and an unlikely boy-beetle friendship begins. 

Broach describes the beetle’s sentiments:

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Patrick Henry


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