“Masterpiece” by Elise Broach is one of the Reading Kingdom’s recommended award winning children’s books. Melissa Gaynor explains why:
What You Need to Know:
• Masterpiece is an ALA (American Library Association) Notable Book and the winner of the Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year award.
• The importance of family and the beauty of a solid friendship are key elements that run throughout this story.
• Although this story about an 11 year old boy and a “talking beetle” will appeal to younger readers, the vocabulary (i.e. assemblage, sequester, chortling, arduous) and writing style are sophisticated and geared toward kids with a
comprehensive knowledge and use of vocabulary.
• Keep a dictionary close by to help those readers not familiar with some of the tougher words.
• Divorce is a subtle but meaningful subplot that will help some children deal with the issue.
• The mystery, although not scary at all, will intrigue young readers.
• I was a little hesitant to read about a bug, but Marvin turned out to be quite cute! Kids will enjoy hearing about his miniature world and the adventures that go along with being so small.
James is a lonely 11 year-old boy living with his mother, step-father and new baby brother in an apartment in New York City. His mother pays little attention to James and when she does it is mostly for the wrong reasons. His dad is an artist who visits occasionally. For his birthday, his Dad gives him a pen-and-ink set and his life takes a surprising turn… James, his dad and Marvin become involved in a plot to set up and capture an art thief. Along the way, James learns a bit of art history, makes new friends, witnesses a real theft and helps solve the crime. As the story continues, James and Marvin’s friendship grows, and somehow they find ways to communicate despite the fact that Marvin never actually “speaks” to James. They learn to trust each other and work together to solve a problem. Broach delivers subtle messages about honesty, integrity and relationships that will leave the reader with an understanding they will find helpful in the future when they are faced with their own situations requiring good judgment. I read this book aloud with my own kids and am sure that the story and these characters will stay with them for years to come.”
Have your children read Masterpiece? What did they think of the book?
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