Monday, November 17, 2014

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald







Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald (Dial Books for Young Readers, March 2014, for ages 9 to 13)

Source: Children's Book World, Haverford, PA, my favorite almost-local indie bookstore

Synopsis (from the publisher)When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Why I recommend it: This is a smart, sophisticated mystery for older middle grade readers. I was utterly entranced by Theodora, by the marvelous New York City setting and characters, and by the mystery itself, which will keep you guessing. Give this to kids who enjoyed From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Chasing Vermeer and even When You Reach Me (although there's no time travel involved here, just a lesson from the past). 

Writers, study this fascinating debut novel to see how intricate a middle grade plot can be, while still entertaining the reader. I'm keeping this book because I know I'll read it over again.

For other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations, see Shannon's blog.

Laura Marx Fitzgerald's website

Follow Laura on Twitter


36 comments:

  1. Sounds awesome for kids who like mysteries. Thanks for spotlighting it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a classy mystery, Natalie. I hope kids like it as much as I do.

      Delete
  2. I read this a while ago and loved it, loved how it introduced kids to the Monuments Men is a way that might make them want to know more. Thanks for your great review and for sharing this we us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I of course thought of the Monuments Men right away (although it's kind of giving away a major plot point).

      Delete
  3. This one is creeping to the top of my TBR list. I should get to it by year's end. I'm a big ...Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler fan so I can't wait. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for fans of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!. One of my Top Ten MG Books of All Time.

      Delete
  4. Definitely on my "Read Soon" list. It sounds so intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly is, Sue. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  5. I trust your recommendation. This is going on the list. What's funny is that it is my library's book club pick of the month. Being in the children's lit. community, I thought of course I would show up and join the discussion. Then I realized it's a book club for children. HA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So funny, Melissa. You should stop in anyway! The kids might enjoy having you there.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like a good one! Thanks for sharing :).

      Delete
  6. As a kid, I was a big mystery fan, and I'd love to revisit that! Besides, anything that gets compared to From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has got to be a win, right?

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes! Another Basil E. Frankweiler fan speaks up! Thanks, Suzanne.

      Delete
  7. Nice. I like books that are higher levels for kids. The more challenged they are, the more they will learn.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I read this a couple of months ago and absolutely adored it! But then, I loved Mixed Up Files and Chasing Vermeer. Nothing like a good art mystery! I thought Theodora was such an endearing character, and I loved how the story came together in the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! So glad to hear you loved it too, Jenni.

      Delete
  9. I love this book. Theodora is absolutely terrific and so is the story. Glad to see you getting the word out about this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more of us who get the word out the better. Right, Rosi?

      Delete
  10. This looks great. I'm really looking forward to reading it, especially after your recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be interested in hearing what you think about it, Faith.

      Delete
  11. This was on my must read debut list earlier this year. Then I got distracted.
    I'm happy to find that you enjoyed it, which means I might enjoy it too. :)

    Thanks for the feature, Joanne!

    ~Akoss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you about the must-read debut list, Akoss. Wish I had time to read them all!

      Delete
  12. I've heard good things about this book. Now you'e giving me a push to get it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is my first time hearing of this book, but it sounds so enchanting. I am definitely curious to find out what the main character discovers about her grandfather! Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Jess. And the mystery of what her grandfather was up to is certainly intriguing.

      Delete
  14. I keep hearing about this book! I'm going to have to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love the title and I love mysteries. Thanks for the review, I'll keep an eye out for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you do, Janet. Let me know what you think when you read it.

      Delete
  16. Wow, I definitely have to get this. Thanks for featuring it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'll be sure to check this one out--it sounds really good!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I read this and loved it. A fantastic history mystery!

    ReplyDelete

YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.