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by Elise Broach
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1.Describe Marvin and his family. Where do they live?
2.Who are the Pompadays? Which of the family members do Marvin and his family like best, and why?
3.What is the first of Marvin’s special talents?
4.What does Marvin collect? Do you collect anything?
5.How would you react if you woke up and discovered a beetle had drawn you a picture?
6.How did James end up getting credit for Marvin’s picture?
7.To which artist did James’ dad compare Marvin’s picture? Do you know anything about Albrecht Dürer?
8.Look at the image of the Bellini Fortitude in the author’s note at the end of the book. Even though the Dürer drawing of the same name is made up, how do you think it would be different from this one?
9.Consider the statement about teachers on page 65: “They don’t teach you to do things exactly the way they do; they teach you how to be your best self.” What do you think this means?
10.How did Marvin spend his day locked in Christina’s office? What useful things did he find/learn?
11.What is the story of Rumpelstitlskin? How is this story similar to that one? How is it different?
12.Did Marvin manage to copy the Dürer well enough? Why was it important that the copy look just like the original?
13.Why would someone steal a piece of art that they couldn’t display or show off?
14.Why didn’t Marvin’s parents want him to help James again?
15.What makes a masterpiece?
16.Discuss Christina’s plan for staging the theft of the false Dürer. Can you find any flaws in her “perfect crime”?
17.Who stole the real Dürer? Why?
18.Do you think you could tell something fake from the real thing, if it was something you knew well? How?
19.How did Marvin finally manage to make James understand that Denny was the art thief?
20.Why do you think Christina believed James story about the art theft, while his did was skeptical?
21.Which virtue should have been added to the Virtues? Do you think someone like Denny deserves forgiveness?
22.Everyone thinks that James is a gifted artist, but what is his real gift?
23.What happened to James’ hand? Do you think he deliberately let the cabbie close the trunk on it? Why?
24.How did James get the street scene Marvin drew for him back, and the Fortitude copy as well?
25.Why do you think a great friendship is like a work of art?
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