From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  By E. L. Konigsburg. Simon and Schuster, 1967. 162 pages. $6.99

Plot: “Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away.  That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back.  She didn’t like discomfort…Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere.”  That “somewhere” turned out to be the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Claudia planned the whole thing out, including inviting one of her younger brothers, Jamie, along because he wouldn’t make trouble and he was “rich.”  What Claudia and Jamie found at the museum was a comfortable, elegant place to live and a mystery about the origins of an angel sculpture, donated by Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the book’s narrator.  Was Michelangelo the artist?  Would Claudia solve the mystery?

Review: Part adventure, part mystery, this novel takes the reader on an exciting journey.  Claudia is intelligent and brave, Jamie is clever and strong-willed, together they take the Met by storm…in secret.  Carefully crafted and beautifully written, this book flows effortlessly and captures the reader’s imagination from beginning to end.

E-Rating: ****

Genre(s): Adventure, Mystery, Realistic Fiction

Reading/Interest Level: 9-12 years

Selected Awards: 1968 Newberry Medal, 1970 William Allen White Children’s Book Award

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

ISBN: 978-0-689-71181-7

Subjects: running away, art museums, New York City, Michelangelo

Main Characters

Claudia Kincaid: intelligent, thoughtful, curious 11-year-old Connecticut native running away from home

Janie Kincaid: good at saving money, clever, middle brother of Claudia’s three younger brothers, running away with Claudia

Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: wealthy older woman, narrator of the book, and keeper of the answer to the mystery

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