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

 
Attention to detail makes adventure satisfying.
Newbery Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The children barely give a thought to their parents' feelings when they run away. They steal change from a fountain and lie to adults. Both Jamie and Mrs. Frankweiler cheat at cards.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

The siblings take a bath together in the museum fountain, and there is a nonexplicit drawing of the scene.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the premise of living inside a museum is enthralling, and E. L. Konigsburg provides every detail a kid could want. Two runaway children demonstrate ingenuity in taking care of themselves in this superbly written novel. Huge dollops of art history seem entertaining when the characters experience it firsthand. The author's scratchy drawings, never terribly attractive, look dated and muddy.

What's the story?

Claudia Kinkaid feels unappreciated by her parents and bored with her orderly, straight-A existence. She is nearly twelve when she decides to run away from her home in suburban Connecticut. Being practical, she chooses a comfortable destination--New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art--and a thrifty traveling companion, her nine-year-old brother Jamie.

After careful planning, Claudia and Jamie arrive at the museum, hiding from the guards in the rest rooms, sleeping on priceless beds, and bathing in the fountain. But when a statue of an angel, rumored to be a possible Michelangelo, is given to the museum, Claudia decides they must solve the mystery. Their search leads them to the statue's original owner, eccentric Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, who narrates the story in a peppery letter to her lawyer. Mrs. Frankweiler both solves the mystery and helps Claudia understand why the secret of the statue is so important to her.[

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Though it may read like a fantasy today, this perfect, kid-size adventure is pure delight. Author E.L. Konigsburg's attention to detail makes this adventure real and satisfying, and her craft makes the story timeless. She observes the characters as closely as their surroundings. Claudia's need to show off and Jamie's tendency to cheat at cards are as much an endearing part of them as their loyalty, humor, and ingenuity.

The quest for the sculptor's identity is bound inextricably with Claudia's own search for self. The mystery is complicated, but the irascible voice of Mrs. Frankweiler allows the author to clarify without ever seeming to lecture. An unusual choice for a children's-book narrator, 82-year-old Mrs. Frankweiler makes a precise and witty storyteller. She even saves one delicious secret for the very end.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about escape. What is Claudia trying to escape? Have you ever wanted to escape from something? Did you try?

Book details

Author:E. L. Konigsburg
Genre:Adventure
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Yearling Books
Publication date:November 7, 1977
Number of pages:176
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

This review of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was written by

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byHennaGirl19 March 27, 2011
age 7+
 

Don't Run Away From Home

If you have a problem, TALK IT OUT! Anyways, I love this book! I don't see why this book was rated 9 and up. Seriously...
Kid, 12 years old March 4, 2010
age 8+
 
(I am the same person as laffytaffy18 but i forgot my password) Once again I HATED this book!! It doesn't pull me in at all. it sucks! I hate the author too. I like older kid books like The Lovely Bones, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Twilight Saga and The Time Traveler's Wife (best books ever!)
Teen, 13 years old Written byNinjaSquirrel May 17, 2010
age 8+
 

Depends on your Favorites

Reading the other reviews, several people don't enjoy it, but it can be a great book. It's about two children who run away from home, and it's a GREAT mystery at the end that will leave you going, "Ohh...." it's a fun and adventurous book

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