Chasing Vermeer Project

By: Morgan Gardner

Plot

Chasing Vermeer is a book about two characters, Petra and Calder, who are looking for a stolen painting. Over a short time period they gradually start collecting clues that help lead them to figure out where the painting is hidden. Petra and Calder never really knew each other until they started getting interested in the painting. The first thing that got them interested was when Petra had a dream about the lady who was in the painting, "A Lady Writing". She then dressed up as her for Halloween, not knowing that she was someone in a painting. Calder talked to her about it and then was able to show her the girl. She was very shocked about it. Then, when the kids saw Ms. Hussey acting in a very strange way they knew that something must be up. They tried figuring out many different situations that could of made her act this strange. When the kids figured out that she got one of the three letters, they knew why she was acting so strange. Before Ms. Hussey even told anyone that she had received a letter, Mrs. Sharpe told the police how she had received a letter. Ms. Hussey and Mrs. Sharpe have been talking via letter about them receiving letters. When Mrs. Sharpe broke her leg in the book, she asks Calder and Petra to deliver a letter to the post office, that is being sent to Ms. Hussey. Calder and Petra confronted Mrs. Sharpe and she said the only reason they were sending letters back and forth is because they wanted to be on the same page as each other about the stolen painting. When Mrs. Sharpe is in the hospital she was looking at all of Calder's pentominoes and she kept saying random words. Later in the story Calder and Petra go to Delia Dell Hall and look for the stolen painting. Petra tries putting all the words together that Mrs. Sharpe was saying at the hospital and picks a spot in Delia Dell where she thinks the painting might be. Petra chose the 12th step and the 12th block on the wall and sure enough the painting was all wrapped up in the frame. Calder and Petra took the painting and got in disguise. When they were running away, they saw the thief who was going to get the painting that night and he started chasing them. Petra was able to sneak away with the painting but the thief got Calder. Calder was able to go to the top of the park but then the thief yanked him down and Calder was acting as if he was unconscious. When the thief was a bit far from Calder, he got up and chased him. Petra then went to go get a police officer. While they got out of the car going to look for Calder, Petra left the painting on the front seat. Sure enough the thief came by and stole it right out of the car. The thief ran all the way up to the Castiglione's tree house and left the painting there. He tried to run to the train station and escape but died on the train The thief ended up being Xavier Glitts, Tommy's stepdad. After they caught the thief everyone was relieved and okay. At the end of the story Calder and Petra noticed there had been many coincidences.

Setting

Chasing Vermeer takes place in Hyde Park, Chicago Illinois. Calder and Petra are in 6th grade and go to school and the "U" or University. Throughout the story things take place in Delia Dell Hall which is where the painting was hidden. Another place in the story where things take place is at Powell's Used Book Store. Calder and Mr. Watch both work there. Calder found the missing painting after the thief left it in Castiglion'e's tree house.

Characters

Theme

Friendship and Curiosity

The theme of Chasing Vermeer is friendship and curiosity. Throughout the the whole story Petra and Calder are best friends. If Calder and Petra weren't best friends, I believe they would not have been able to solve the mystery as quickly as they did. They both would put their thoughts together to come up with great ideas. Curiosity also plays as a big theme in the novel. During the book everyone is so curious about everything. One example is when everyone was trying to figure out who was the anonymous letter writer. Everyone was curious because they wanted to see if the thief was telling the truth about how Vermeer actually didn't make all of his art work. These are the two main themes in Chasing Vermeer.

Pentominoes

Pentominoes are a set of figures that are different letters that make five equal squares. Throughout the novel, Calder uses them to tell which situation he is in. For example, "U"mean University in the story.
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