But then young James Pompaday gets art supplies for his birthday, and Marvin discovers a remarkable, un-beetle-like talent.
This book appeals on so many levels. Like The Borrowers, it plays with the notion of small people living on the scraps of human life. I loved the description of the beetles' food, and their beetle-eye perspective on human activities.
Then there's the art heist story: everyone loves a good art heist, and this one has action and suspense and also manages to introduce readers to Albrecht Durer without ever seeming didactic. I loved the passion for art that comes across in different ways from the different characters.
But perhaps what's best about Masterpiece is the beautiful friendship story. I loved the characters of James and Marvin, and the way they were able to communicate without words and trust each other without reservation.
Kelly Murphy's illustrations were perfect.
Masterpiece is your favourite picnic food: maybe a really good potato salad, or cold roast chicken. Hearty and fun.
Shannon Messenger for more great MMGM reads, every week.