Monday, March 24, 2008

Contemporary Realistic Fiction: The Wright 3

Balliett, Blue. 2006. The Wright 3. Illus. by Brett Helquist. NY: Scholastics. ISBN:0439693675.

In the sequel to her acclaimed “Da Vinci Code for kids” book Chasing Vermeer Balliet continues the adventures of sleuths Petra and Calder who are now joined by Calder’s old friend Tommy who has returned to Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood after living New York for a year. Despite the initial tension between Tommy and the new mystery-solving two-some, resentments begin to dissolve away when Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House is doomed for demolition with its parts being sent to museums around the world. Working together, the sixth-graders begin to crack the codes to the secrets that surround the house as they learn about is history, the story of its famous architect, the appreciation of art and through the combination of their unique personalities and abilities (Petra’s literary mind, Tommy’s talent of scavenging for items, especially where he shouldn’t be and the fact that he lives next door to the house, and Calder’s brain-tickling pentominoes). Intertwining some of culture’s famous “works of art” – Wright’s house, Hitchock’s film Rear Window, and H.G. Well’s The Invisible Man – and secret codes like Fibonacci, Balliett has written yet another exciting book fueled by mystery, risk-taking, and the true-to-life dynamics of friendship. With the extra punch by Helquist’s detailed full-page illustrations that also have their hidden challenge, The Wright 3 is excellent for engaging readers of any age in an exciting and even an educational narrative.

*Read the prequel to The Wright 3: Chasing Vermeer
*Read the sequel to The Wright 3: Calder Game that will be released May 1, 2008
*Have some fun and create your own secret codes as well as the play around with the Fibonacci code.
*Make your own pentominoes by gluing together little blocks, and with a picture for help, try to recreate the Robie House.

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