This charming middle-grade novel is a mystery surrounding art and family with some history thrown in, too. I love quirky Theodora and her assortment of friends that help her figure out what is under the egg. Recommended By Jennifer H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
meets Chasing Vermeer
in this clever middle grade debut.
When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather's painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That's great news for Theo, who's struggling to hang onto her family's two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather's legacy of $463. There's just one problem: Theo's grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.
With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city and her grandfather that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.
"As he lay dying, Theodora Tenpenny's grandfather Jack muttered something about a treasure 'under the egg.' Theodora, 13, thinks this means that Jack a thrifty, unknown artist left a means of providing for Theo and her unreliable mother. She searches the mantelpiece, beneath Jack's painting of an egg, and the bowl where they display an egg gathered from the chicken coop behind their Greenwich Village townhouse. Nothing. Then an accident uncovers another image under Jack's painting, sending Theo and her new friend Bodhi, the daughter of two film stars, on a mission to discover the provenance of what appears to be a Renaissance masterpiece. Theo is smart and resourceful, and debut author Fitzgerald creates a plausible backstory for the teen's uncanny ability to spot 'the difference between a Manet and a Monet.' While the resolution falls into place too easily, the search for answers forces Theo out of her shell and into the wonderfully quirky community around her. Fans of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will find this another delightful lesson in art history. Ages 8 12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer and Elise Broach's Masterpiece will enjoy this art caper." School Library Journal
About the Author
In writing Under the Egg, Laura Marx Fitzgerald drew on her study of art history at Harvard and Cambridge Universities. She lives in Brooklyn, and this is her middle grade debut.