Under the Egg

Laura Marx Fitzgerald, read by Jessica Almasy. Books on Tape, 5 CDs, 5.5 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-1-101-91550-9

Thirteen-year-old Theodora Tenpenny lives with her mentally scattered mother in a run-down 200-year-old townhouse in Greenwich Village, N.Y. When her artistic grandfather, the family provider, dies suddenly, Theo finds a letter from him suggesting that a treasure is hidden “under the egg.” Reader Almasy gives the protagonist a credible young-sounding voice and can-do attitude, as well as portraying a colorful cast of secondary characters who assist Theo on her treasure hunt. There’s Theo’s friend Bohdi, the child of movie-star parents whose roller-coaster Southern California accent Almasy captures “for sure,” and the guttural-accented deli owner Mr. K., who supplies Theo with the occasional free lunch. Antagonists include a dismissive art expert named Gemma, whose speech Theo describes as “deliberately pretentious,” Madame Dumont, a very French next-door neighbor who wants to evict Theo and her mother, and Lydon Randolph, a retired art curator who is convinced Theo possesses a painting of great value that Lydon wants for himself. Almasy gives him a mellifluously aristocratic Southern accent that turns hard and vicious when riled, which is how the ever-crafty Theo inevitably leaves him. Ages 8–12. [em]A Dial hardcover. (June) [/em]