James and Marvin are an unlikely crime-fighting dou; however, this beetle and 11-year-old boy work together to solve the mystery of an art theft and recover a famous drawing by German artist Albrecht Durer (1471-1528). Elise Broach’s Masterpiece reminds me of a couple of my favorite books from my childhood: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg and A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. This is a jFiction book people of all ages will enjoy. Although it is not a new book (2008) I decided to write about it because I really enjoyed it.
James is a lonely 11-year-old who lives in a New York City apartment with his mother, step-father, and obnoxious younger brother. Marvin is a happy beetle who lives under the kitchen sink in James’ apartment with his extended family. This unlikely pair comes together after Marvin creates a miniature drawing to cheer James up after a dismal birthday party, and James is mistaken as the artist. The drawing is compared to drawings by the Renaissance era artist, Albrecht Durer. James’ father takes him to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Marvin rides along in James’ collar. At the Met they meet two curators who are working together to recover stolen Durer drawings. Soon they make a plan to work with the FBI, stage a theft, and hopefully track the drawing to the criminals who have stolen other Durer drawings. When things go wrong, it is up to James and Marvin to save the day!
I listened to this book and Jeremy Davidson’s narration is excellent. While listening I couldn’t help thinking of Claudia (From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) and Chester (A Cricket in Times Square) and the wonders of discovering a great new book when I was a child. I will add Masterpiece to my list of favorites … I just wish I had my old treehouse to escape to with a good book! ~~Enjoy~~