Under the Egg
From Library Staff
NYPL Staff Pick
When two girls pair up to solve the mystery of a possible Renaissance painting in their possession they find themselves wrapped up in a story that involves everything from the Monument Men to the personal life of the painter Raphael.
- Betsy Bird
When 13-year-old Theo needs to research a mysterious painting left to her by her grandfather, she heads straight to the Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL and finds a librarian there who is more than willing to help her with her quest.
What does an egg, a painting, the daughter of celebrities, the Holocaust, a mathematical recluse, a dilapidated townhouse in Greenwich Village and some tea have in common - Theodora Tenpenny. When Theo discovers a hidden painting in her family's home everything she thought she knew about her gran... Read More »
From the critics
AgeAdd Age Suitability
ReadingWriter thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12
orange_falcon_108 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over
SummaryAdd a Summary
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.
Things could be better. A lot better. When Theodora’s grandfather Jack was alive, the family didn’t have a ton of money but at least they got by pretty well on his salary as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was after Jack died in a freak accident that things took a downward slide. With a mother incapable of dealing with reality (and addicted to pricey tea), Theo knows their money is coming to an end. Soon they won’t have enough to live on. It’s when things look particularly dire that Theo accidentally spills rubbing alcohol on one of her grandfather’s favorite paintings. And as strange as it sounds, beneath his plain picture of an egg lies an incredibly old image of Madonna and Child. The more Theo starts to look into the painting and its history, the more determined she is to track down its story. Now with the help of the daughter of a pair of acting celebrities, a punk librarian, an Episcopalian priest, a guy selling nuts on the street, and more, Theo’s about to peel away not just the mystery behind the painting, but also her own grandfather’s role in one of the greatest WWII capers of all time.
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The public library is the closest I'll ever come to a shopping spree. Once, twice, sometimes three times a week, I'll drop in, raid the stacks, wielding my library card like a socialite with a Bloomingdale's charge account. I grab anything that looks interesting, flipping through a few pages before losing interest or devouring the whole thing in one sitting. And if I don't like it, I can return it. It's the only place where I can be wasteful with no consequences.
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