Monday, January 2, 2012
Review: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler
Title: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.
Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it?
Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself
I joined the challenge to read Newbery Medal and Honor winners this year. From the Mixed Up Files was my first read from the lists this year. I believe I may have read this book back in elementary school but definitely did not remember much about it. I am so glad I chose to revisit it.
Claudia is tired of being Claudia. She wants to be different. She wants to feel important. Because of this, she devises a plan to runaway. Claudia doesn't want to runaway to any old place. She wants to go someplace important, so she chooses The Metropolitan Museum of Art. And it is there, with her younger brother Jamie she hides for a week.
I can definitely see why this book won the Newbery Award and how it has sustained its popularity since its original publication in 1972. From the Mixed Up Files is quirky and entertaining. The main characters are great. Claudia and her brother Jamie make a wonderful team. Claudia is smart and inquisitive and comes up with a great plan. Jamie is good with the money and helps to keep Claudia from putting them directly in the poorhouse.
Konigsberg is a fabulous author. Even at thirty years old, I adored the story she wove between the covers of this book. I wanted to visit the museum, sleep in a 400 year old bed, and hide in the bathroom stall until the guards had gone home for the night. This is definitely one I will be keeping on my shelves for years to come and will hopefully share one day with my own son.