Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Main Page
Author List
Title List
New This Month
Interest Level
Subject List
Booktalking Tips
Book Review Sources
Reading lists
Nancy Keane's Children's Website
Balliett, Blue.
New York : Scholastic, 2004.
IL 3-6, RL 5.4
ISBN 0439372941

4 booktalks

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews

Click here for Listening Library

Booktalk #1

Do you like a good mystery book?  Well, this just may be what you are looking for.  When Petra finds a mysterious letter, the mystery begins. "Dear Friend:  I would like your help in identifying a crime that is now centuries old."  Unfortunately, the letter blows away before Petra can read the rest.  Meanwhile, a priceless Vermeer painting on route to the Art Museum is stolen and the thief vows not to return the painting until the experts admit that some of the Vermeer paintings have been done by impostors.  And Petra's new teacher takes a particular interest in the missing painting.  And then there's Mrs. Sharpe whose husband was killed years ago after proclaiming he had new information about the Vermeer painting.  And let's not forget Petra's new friend Calder.  Just what is it about his pentominoes?

Booktalk #2

Two bright young people have strange things begin to happen around them. Bit by bit, clues accumulate. Smart and savvy, Petra and Calder put the pieces together and a pattern emerges or does it? Can they trust anyone as they get closer to a solution? Danger begins to be their companion as they try to solve the mystery and prevent the theft if the valuable Vermeer painting. Hint: Don’t forget to use Brett Helquist’s illustrations with their hidden clues to help you solve the mystery.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2005-2006)

Booktalk #3

This real-life mystery begins when three people receive a message that reads: "Tell no one or your life will be in danger." They are all asked to help solve a crime which involves the theft of a Vermeer painting as it is being transported from WashingtonD.C. to the Chicago Museum of Art. The twist in the plot is that the three people who receive the letters do not know that anyone else has received them. Petra and Calder are caught in a web of coincidences, questions, suspicions, and puzzles when they learn about one of the letters. Their involvement deepens and becomes more dangerous when the thief threatens to destroy the painting. Moonlight chases, hidden hiding places, and a secret code along with Petra and Calder’s creativity and problem-solving skills help to solve the mystery.Black-eyed Susan Award nominee 2005-2006

Booktalk #4

(Print a set of pentominoes from Scholastic’s site and cut them apart. For each bold letter, pull out the corresponding pentomino.)

These are Pentominoes, and the shapes represent different Letters of the alphabet. In this story that you’re just gonna Love, Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay, two X-traordinary 6th graders caught Up in a crime. A rare Painting by Johannes Vermeer has been stolen, and the thief wants to keep the artwork hidden until the world admits that some Vermeer paintings are just plain Fakes. But  Petra and Calder feel a great connection to Vermeer, so they’re desperate to solve the mystery. They end up on an adventure around  Chicago and use these pentominoes to help them along the way. If you like reading stories Where teens take control and make a difference, You’ll definitely want to piece this puzzle together. Read Chasing Vermeer. (Prepared by: Leigh Jordan, SCASL Junior Book Awards)

SUBJECTS:     Art -- Fiction.
                        Vermeer, Johannes, 1632-1675 -- Fiction.
                        Mystery and detective stories.


Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.