“Under the Egg” by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

The Plot In Five Sentences Or Less:  Theodora Tenpenny is a 13 year old who lives with her declining mother and her eccentric artist grandfather Jack in a townhouse that has seen better days.  When Jack suddenly passes away, his last words to Theodora are cryptic:  “It’s under the egg.  There’s…a letter.  And a treasure.”  Desperate to pull her mother and herself out of penury, Theodora’s investigations lead her to the discovery of a painting that appears to be straight out of the renaissance.  But is this truly a valuable piece that could bring in a windfall, or is it simply a fantastic forgery?  Theodora’s explorations will turn up fascinating stories of her grandfather’s days in World War II and show her the importance of art in the darkest of times.

My Take:  Readers who have an interest in art history and museums will most certainly enjoy this book.  As the dust jacket bills, those who enjoyed The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Chasing Vermeer will appreciate this mystery as well.  I learned a great deal about Renaissance art as well as the pains taken to preserve it during World War II.

One Interesting Note About the Author:  According to her website, Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s favorite middle reader books are a tie between The Mixed Up Files and The Westing Game.

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