Paperback - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A New York Times bestselling middle grade mystery novel full of adventure, friendship, and stolen art.

Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays' apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can't go through with the plan without Marvin's help. And that's where things get really complicated (and interesting!). This fast-paced mystery will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.

In Shakespeare's Secret Elise Broach showed her keen ability to weave storytelling with history and suspense, and Masterpiece is yet another example of her talent. This time around it's an irresistible miniature world, fascinating art history, all wrapped up in a special friendship-- something for everyone to enjoy.

Masterpiece is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Publisher: New York : Square Fish, 2010
ISBN: 9780312608705


From Library Staff

Marvin, a beetle, and James, an eleven-year-old boy, find themselves at the center of a mystery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 17, 2018

I read this book a couple of times for school assignments and just for fun, but if I were, to be honest for me personally this book is very strange. It was my first time reading a book that involves a Beatle as the main character, but change is great every once it a while!
The author did an exceptional job with the overall story and kept it entertaining and detailed at all times!
I recommend this 8/10
Age group: grade 2-5

Jul 12, 2016

This was a great book!! It was very creative and interesting. I just can't put it down. I liked the part that Marvin realizes that the real painting is about to be stolen not his copy. This book teaches a big lesson about friendship, family and art theft. This book is 100% 5 stars!!!

Jan 31, 2015

Excellent book! I enjoyed reading it from the beginning to the end, and I'm a grown up! (:
Almost wished it were a TRUE story, with the artist beetle and all! (:

Jan 02, 2015

A wonderful writing style, an interesting subject, and an unlikely friendship come together in this masterpiece of a book. Reading it, I marvelled at the engaging and creative properties of the story of a beetle and a boy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good solid read and interesting dreams.

You might find your nose stuck in this book. Truly marvellous!

Violet_Bat_19 Jul 09, 2014

A book about a friendship, a painting, and a criminal. Marvin is a beetle. James is a boy. When Marvin creates a beautiful picture for James' Birthday, everyone thinks it's James that drew it. Now they need the pair to draw a masterpiece to catch the criminal!! I enjoyed this book and can relate to Marvin and the way his parents treat him.

Jul 01, 2014

Wondrous book!


Add Age Suitability

Aug 18, 2018

Hiny thinks this title is suitable for 6 years and over

Jan 02, 2015

CATCAT845 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 13


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


LibraryThing Series Information


Find it at CRRL

To Top