I won a signed copy of this book in a giveaway hosted by A Patchwork of Books. I was so excited to win. It sounded right up my alley. And I wasn't disappointed!
Masterpiece is a story of friendship mixed with a little art history and art theft. A lonely little boy named James, who is all but ignored by his mother and stepfather, discovers a little beetle named Marvin has a wonderful artistic gift. James receives a pen and ink drawing set for his birthday from his artist father. During the night, Marvin discovers the new set on James' desk. Curious, he starts dipping his front legs into the ink and creates a wonderful little drawing of the scene outside James' bedroom window. Delighted by the drawing, James discovers Marvin created it and an unlikely friendship is formed. The adults in James' life think he created the tiny, intricate drawing and are in awe of his new found talent. Upon a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, James is asked to create a copy of a famous Albrecht Durer drawing. His copy is so close to the original that the museums curator develops a plan to try and catch an art thief. Throughout the story, Marvin and James work together first to create the drawings then to help solve the art mystery.
This book was a delight for me to read. It was fun to see art history woven into the story and I'm thrilled that this book might spark an interest in art history for children reading it. Though the friendship between James and Marvin is unlikely, it seems to work for this book. It is fun to read about Marvin's world and how the beetles view humans. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys juvenile fiction. You won't be disappointed! And Kelly Murphy's pen and ink illustrations are so lovely. They fit right along with the story so well. Oh, this one was so fun and I look forward to reading more of Broach's books in the future.
Broach also wrote Shakespeare's Secret, which Allison reviewed here.