I reread the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg this week. This is a middle reader book that I remembered from my childhood. The plot has always stuck with me even when I couldn’t remember the title. I recall searching for the book on the internet a few years back, literally putting “kids book, runaway, NY museum” in as my search parameter. At that time, I was looking for a book to share with my son. I bought it but alas it has sat unread on his shelf all these years. We have very different tastes in genres- I love mysteries, I’ve always liked them ever since I was a child. I used to devour Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, the Boxcar children and many others. My son on the other hand prefers dystopian novels- something I really don’t enjoy. Maybe it’s the adult feeling that the world has enough bad in it that I don’t need to spend my leisure time reading about things when I could get just as upset watching the news, especially now.
When a reading prompt for this year said to reread a childhood favorite, I decided this was the time to get the book off the shelf and read it again. The story is about a 6th grade girl, Claude, who decides she is unappreciated at home as the oldest, and only girl. She devises a plan to runaway from her home in Greenwich, CT. As part of her plan she decides to take her middle brother along as he is a saver and can fund their excursion. Plus he can keep a secret better than the oldest of the brothers. Claude works out all the details and then springs the plan on Jamie. The leave on a Wednesday because that’s music day and they will have an extra container to carry food and clothes. Claude wants to run away in style, not hide in the woods, nope its NYC and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When they first leave home, it is Claude’s intention, to get noticed and to come home with a story to tell. But as their stay and adventures at the Met go along, she comes to realize she wants to be come home changed and a hero for solving a mystery. Her ultimate transformation of growth actually leads to her realizing the process and the knowledge that you know something that isn’t necessarily public is worth a lot to self growth and awareness. The 2 children ultimately come to meet the narrator, Mrs. Frankweiler, she helps them solve a bit of the puzzle and to return home to their family.
The copy of the book I have is the 35th anniversary edition. It has a fun afterword with the author and also contains the only sequel written to the story. The sequel is a conversation between the siblings about the Newbery award the book received. It was part of the program given to the attendees in 1968 at the awards.
All in all it was enjoyable reread for me and I am glad I spent the afternoon doing so. This is a great book to read with children or alone.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Was an awesome experience to revisit a childhood favorite. I especially enjoyed the fact my book had a note from the author at the end which helped me to see the messages and themes she was portraying in the book. She also covered the changes from when she wrote the book in 1967 to today (the 35th anniversary). Great as an adult, but for kids it is just a fun book to read
As for the story who wouldn't love to live in a museum filled with treasures and things to explore. This is a great book that I am so happy I read again. It is great for elementary kids to read alone, with parents or in classrooms. All around clean story with intrigue and suspense and messages if you are paying attention
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Challenge PromptsThe Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
- Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #9 with a map
- Around the Year in 52 Books- #25 book related to the arts
- Book List Queen #34 Middle Grade Fiction
- 20 in 20: #Read20in2020 #13 A book you read in your childhood days
- TBR Book #1 #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
- Wizading World Tour possible categories
- Mahoutokoro: Read a middle grade novel