Art theft is usually journalism fodder, but in Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer it becomes the catalyst for an exciting foray into detective work. Sixth-graders Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay are learning a great deal about art in Ms. Hussey’s class, and this newly developed knowledge and curiosity are tested when a thief steals, and then threatens to destroy, a priceless painting by a Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer. The two young sleuths set about tracing the whereabouts of the picture known as A Lady Writing, and along the way are aided by private letters penned by the thief, and information in an unusual book, named Lo!, written by Charles Fort. Fort, a naturalist, wrote in the early 20th century, exploring the pattern of events that may or may not represent coincidence. Fort’s writing spurs the children onto an empowering intellectual quest. The adventures of Petra and Calder make for a fun and exciting read, and readers can attempt to solve the mystery by deciphering the code in the illustrations, further developing an appreciation of fine art.