Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on April 28, 2010
We read this book as a family read-aloud. It has great illustrations and a very intriguing premise. We LOVED the beginning, but started losing interest about halfway through, as the relationship between James and Marvin (the only interesting relationship in the book) gets buried in a lot of boring adult conversation and grown-up issues. The parents have the personalities of your typical sitcom characters, and the other adults characters are pretty forgettable, so it's a shame that they get to take over the book. I will add that if you are looking for a book to introduce/reinforce some useful vocabulary, this book is a good choice. We enjoyed the mystery and suspense, and the information about Durer and art was interesting; we just wished that some of the contrived adult situations had been edited out.