Friday, February 12, 2016

Book review - Behind the Canvas

Title: Behind the Canvas
Author: Diane Zahler
Genre: Adventure/fantasy
Similar books: The Goblin's Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton
                     Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
surprisingly intellectual

Summary (provided by publisher): There is a world behind the canvas. Past the flat façade and the crackling paint is a realm where art lives, breathes, creates, and destroys.
Claudia Miravista loves art but only sees what is on the surface-until the Dutch boy Pim appears in the painting in her room. Pim has been trapped in the world behind the canvas for centuries by a power-hungry witch, and he now believes that Claudia is his only hope for escape. Fueled by the help of an ancient artist and some microwaveable magic, Claudia enters the wondrous and terrifying world behind the canvas, intent on destroying the witch's most cherished possession and setting her new friend free. But in that world nothing is quite as it appears on the surface. Not even friendship.

My opinion: This is a pretty solid adventure story with loads of art history facts, both incorporated directly into the text and added as footnotes. I like that the footnotes are both informative and entertaining, with a solid dose of humor. Readable and conversational instead of dry. I felt like the writing was a little bulky, perhaps overly descriptive at times. I was able to skim some passages without feeling like I was missing anything important (similar to when I read Chasing Vermeer). Not something you're going to read casually but for an middle grader who enjoys an intellectually challenging read this is a solid choice.

More information: Behind the Canvas releases February 23.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

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