Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Under the Egg / Laura Marx Fitzgerald / 247 pages

   One of my favorite books when I was a kid and still today is From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I am always intrigued when I find a novel that is compared to Files. Fitzgerald has presented a strong young lady to follow in Claudia Kincaid's footsteps.

   Theodora Tenpenny has a lot on her plate. She is responsible for taking care of her mother, the house and the chickens in the backyard. All on $463. Her grandfather died leaving all the responsibilities on her shoulders. Theo doesn't mind but she is getting worried about this treasure she is supposed to find. Before he died, Grandfather said "It's under the egg." On the wall in her grandfather's art studio is a picture of an egg. Not a masterpiece but a family heirloom. What exactly is she supposed to do?

   In the following pages Theo and the reader go on quite an adventure. We learn about Renaissance art, World War II and the Monuments Men, art restoration and authentication and libraries. One of the characters in the book is a rockin' librarian who helps Theo when she is out of ideas. The display of database knowledge was so apropos - I laughed out loud. There is quite a lot packed into this book. So much so I think some readers may give up. Please don't - the adventure is worth the reward! I thoroughly recommend this book to 6th graders and up. Even adults would enjoy the story and all that Theo finds. Could a sequel be in the works??

6 degrees of reading: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

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