The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: MASTERPIECE by Elise Broach

masterpieceReviewed by Cameron and Eoin

MASTERPIECE is about a friendship between a boy and a beetle, the boy’s parents are divorced, his mom is a client, his dad is an artist, his dad isn’t able to see him much and his mom doesn’t have much time for him between his baby brother and her work. The beetle lives under the sink in the boy’s mother’s house, he lives with his family and is able to swim (even is he has to use a peanut shell as a floaty.) The beetle draws a picture of the landscape behind the boy’s house using the boy’s birthday present from his dad, his father sees the picture and thinks his son is the one who drew it. This launches them into an art heist from a museum, will they solve the heist or will the thief get away?

I thought the author did a great job describing the artwork, even without the pictures, it felt as if I was only inches away from the artwork myself. I thought this was a wonderful book full of friendship, mystery and art and I would recommend this book to you for sure.


Masterpiece. That is what brings the two main characters together. A human boy named James meets a beetle named Marvin over Marvin’s beautiful picture, the first in his extraordinary series of masterpieces. This book, by Elise Broach, is a thrilling adventure, if a little too sweet at times, and a really enjoyable book to read. Like The Borrowers, who are tiny people living with larger people and borrowing their also tiny things, this tiny talented beetle and his family are living with a lonely 11-year-old boy and his family, that are not beetles. The boy and the beetle turn out to be a good pair and good friends, even though the insect cannot speak to the boy.

Marvin’s pictures turn out to be a major part of a staged theft for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marvin did his first artwork for James’s birthday and left it on his desk for him to find, but then the confusion begins. Alas, James’s family and Met Museum workers don’t think, or know, that the pictures are Marvin’s. They believe that they are James’s talented pictures! This, as you can image, leads to some complications.

The style of this book is usually fast paced and Elise Broach gives the beetle an abundance of problems to cope with, but as Marvin survives and gets out of tight spots his family (or so it seemed to me) worships him. His family does not seem very realistic, either for a beetle or a kid. But to say more would make spoilers!

All in all, I would be lying if I gave this book the highest recommendation possible, but I would definitely say that it is a good read!


Wondering what kind of drawing a beetle might do? What about what it feels like to have a worshipful family? Check out MASTERPIECE today!

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