Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park

The Painting That Wasn’t There by Steve Brezenoff

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the painting that wasn't there cover small“My name is James Shoo. No one calls me that, though. Everyone calls me Gum instead.”

Get it? Gum Shoo? James Shoo, aka Gum, is a sixth grade student with a knack for solving mysteries with his friends, Egg, Sam, and Cat. He is the main character of the Field Trip Mysteries by Steve Brezenoff, and his story begins in The Painting That Wasn’t There.

James and his classmates love their art class with Ms Stanwyck. He likes going to class because she never complains about him chewing gum, but also, he really enjoys art class. One day, Ms. Stanwyck introduces them to a series of paintings. They are all paintings of animals in nature and she says that they are on display at a nearby museum! She informs them that they will be taking a field trip there next week to see the paintings in real life.

Things at the museum take a turn for the mysterious, though. Egg’s camera flash is off, but he keeps getting told by the guard to turn the flash off. Anton, the bully of the class, is up to no good, and there is a mysterious man in a long coat looking at “The Inside of a Stable” by George Morland. It is up to Gum, Egg, Sam and Cat to find out what’s going on and save the day!

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very interesting and it shares a lot of information about art history and painting techniques, which come in handy when Gum and his friends need to solve the mystery.

The author writes the characters exactly how we expect sixth grade characters to act and sound. They are very real.

I would absolutely recommend it to others. It’s great for art lovers and mystery fans, alike, and I give it 5 stars!

Check the PPLC Catalog for The Painting That Wasn’t There.

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