Saturday, April 19, 2014
"From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg
Title: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Have I Read it Before: yes
I had forgotten just how much I love this book! Claudia doesn't really remember why she wants to run away, just that she needs to do it. She chooses her younger brother, Jamie as her running away companion, mostly because he is a cheapskate and has enough money for them to run away in style. Unlike most that runaway, Claudia doesn't want to head for the woods or outdoors. Instead she and Jamie make their way to Manhattan and set-up new lives living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They get away with it too, hiding during closing time, sleeping in the antique beds, and learning about the items in the museum. Things don't get really interesting until the beautiful Angel sculpture arrives at the museum. It is speculated that it was that it was sculpted by Michelangelo, but no one has proof. Claudia makes it her mission to find out the truth about the sculpture, and she will not return home until she knows it's full story.
This book is so wonderful. I can actually picture Claudia and Jamie as they make their way into the city and as they figure out how they can make their adventure doable. It's easy to imagine Jamie insisting that he and Claudia be as frugal as possible, despite her desire to live with a little more fun. This book really is the My Side of the Mountain for those that can't stand the outdoors. The only problem I have with this book is how it holds up for today's audiences. As this book was originally published in 1967, there are many things that have changed about the world. The book itself addressed the security of the museum, something that has greatly increased since the 60s. Other things that modern audiences could have difficulties with would be the fact that the two are able to survive in New York City on less than $30 and that they are able to come and go so easily without being recognized (a much tougher feat today as these two missing children would be all over social media today). Don't get me wrong, this book is still excellent, but I predict that kids that are familiar with the ways of the world today may be a little confused (unless this like so many other books has been modernized, but I really hope that is not a thing).
I just cannot recommend this book highly enough. It has just about everything; adventure, education, a mystery, and most of all, fun.