Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart, Ltd.
Claudia has a brilliant plan that involves running away from home…and living in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. She invites her younger brother Jamie along to finance the trip and the two find themselves settled in the beautiful museum. Unbeknownst to her, there is a mystery surrounding an angel statue at the museum and she and her brother Jamie might just be in the perfect position to solve it. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will remind you of your childhood relationships with your brothers and/or sisters and the adventurous spirit that you once had.
This book is very memorable and will leave a positive impression on young readers. The museum and all of its grandeur and Mrs. Frankweiler and her room of endless file cabinets are thoroughly depicted in the illustrations, but perhaps are somewhat overwhelming. Some readers may prefer to visualize the action with their own childlike imagination. One precaution to parents is that the book makes running away seem harmless. It would be good to talk about the realities and dangers of running away from home with children as they read this book. If read in a classroom setting, it would also be applicable to talk with students about their relationships with their siblings and their personal strengths, such as Claudia’s ability to plan and Jamie’s finance skills. The language, similes, and metaphors that E.L. Konigsburg uses in From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will make readers feel as if they are hiding from museum security with Claudia and Jamie.