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. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/16/2013 Release date: 03/18/2014 Genre: Children's
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