Kate and I just finished Chasing Vermeer and it got a thumbs up from both of us. The book is well written but also written for an intermediate reader - -that is, this is not a book that needs to be read aloud but it was quite enjoyable to do so.
The book is about puzzles and quirkiness and provides a great introduction to conversations about art (and Vermeer in particular), authenticity, museum practices, secrets, even tactics of social change. There is even a great opening to talk about how we know what we know and where we get gut-instincts from (Calder, the main character, uses the letters from a set of pentominoes to guide him and I am now desperate to get a set of for myself (perhaps a wooden set?). But, what I most enjoyed about the book was almost beside the point: lovely relationships between a boy and a girl, between kids and and their teacher, and between humans and ideas.
I had a bit of a hard time understanding the story at first and found the end wrapped up a little too neatly, but the middle was really fun to read (enough that I blew through bed time more than once) and was suspenseful w/out being scary.
And now we're on to Ruby Holler ... a different kind of story but another set of adventurous kids...