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|Under the egg|
Author: Fitzgerald, Laura Marx
Her grandfather's dying words lead thirteen-year-old Theodora Tenpenny to a valuable, hidden painting she fears may be stolen, but it is her search for answers in her Greenwich Village neighborhood that brings a real treasure.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 166756
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 63495
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/13)
School Library Journal (02/01/14)
Booklist (+) (02/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/14)
The Hornbook (00/03/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2014 *Starred Review* Following her grandfather’s death, 13-year-old Theo shoulders the responsibility of looking after her mentally unfocused mother and keeping their Greenwich Village household running with no income. When Theo uncovers an old painting, possibly an original Raphael, she hopes to save their home. But is it a Raphael? Why was it hidden under a layer of paint? Was it stolen? By her beloved grandfather?! Theo and her friend Bodhi begin investigations that lead them to a church, an auction house, the public library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Center for Jewish History, and two Holocaust survivors. Theo’s household is vividly portrayed, from her grandfather’s creative ingenuity to her mother’s tenuous hold on reality. Smart and determined, down-to-earth and insightful, Theo makes an engaging narrator as she follows a winding trail of discovery. Along the way, Fitzgerald includes a good bit of art history, which becomes as interesting as the interplay between the two friends. In the end, the mystery’s solution depends a bit too much on adult intervention, coincidence, and even amnesia to be wholly satisfying. Still, it’s a riveting narrative. Readers who loved E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967) and Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer (2004) won’t want to put this one down. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2014 Gr 4–7—Before dying, Jack, Theodora's grandfather, whispers, "There's a letter… And a treasure" hidden "under the egg." After his passing, Theo could certainly use a treasure; her absentminded mother hides herself away on the top floor of their dilapidated Greenwich Village townhouse while the 13-year-old struggles to make ends meet with the $463 that Jack left. Hanging above the mantelpiece is one of her late grandfather's paintings which depicts a large egg. Could a treasure be hiding underneath? An accident with a bottle of rubbing alcohol reveals an unusual image that sets the teen off on an art history adventure taking her from New York Public Library's Jefferson Market branch to a fancy Upper East Side auction house and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Along the way, she befriends Bodhi, the jet-setting, paparazzi-hounded daughter of two celebrities; Reverend Cecily from Grace Church; and a punk-rock librarian named Eddie. Fitzgerald gets the Manhattan setting pitch-perfect; from the rich aroma of a roasted nut stand to the hushed hallways of the Met. While the mystery unwinds at an even pace through most of the book, the last few chapters conclude too quickly and readers may be disappointed in the all-too-convenient ending. Still, fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004) and Elise Broach's Masterpiece (Holt, 2008) will enjoy this art caper.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2014 Barely scraping by but self-reliant, thirteen-year-old Theo and her artist grandfather, Jack, spend their days tending the vegetable garden and chicken coop in the backyard of their New York City family home, trying to keep up with ever-needed repairs, and looking after Theo’s brilliant but childlike mother. After Jack’s sudden death, Theo must run the house on only a few hundred dollars while trying to make sense of her grandfather’s final words imploring her to “look under the egg.” When she accidentally spills rubbing alcohol over one of Jack’s paintings, revealing another picture beneath, she must uncover whether it’s a true Renaissance work—a Raphael, to be exact—and find its rightful owner. With the help of neighbors and new friends (including a tattooed librarian), Theo both unravels the mystery and builds a community around her. In an engaging, if rather implausible, narrative, author Fitzgerald weaves together art history, world history, and personal history, and she creates a protagonist winning for her determined and capable nature and a plot refreshing in its subject matter. The mystery is, like Agatha Christie’s, a ride-along rather than a solve-along, with the key plot point inserted just before the big reveal, but there’s plenty of the pleasure coming from watching events unfold and seeing Theo put the pieces together. This novel will please readers who enjoy a quirky and resourceful female protagonist and, ideally, share her interest in Renaissance art. AA - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.