The Book Reviews – Website

April 23, 2008

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

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

Author: E.L. Konigsburg

Page Length: 182

Reading Level: 7

Genre: Realistic Fiction / Mystery

PLOT SUMMARY: Claudia, a sixth grader and the oldest and only female child in her house, decides that in order to be appreciated, she must run away. Claudia is a careful planner and realizes that she isn’t just going to run away randomly to run to somewhere specific instead. She plans her escape to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Convincing her younger, spend thrift brother Jaime to accompany her, they fail to get off the bus to school and the adventure begins. The book details the exploits of the children as they hide inside the museum; the reader learns how they outwit the guards, where they stay the night, and even how they eat and clean their clothes. While in the museum, the children become engrossed in solving the mystery of the angel statue. Their search for clues involves library research, newspaper articles, and even a secret letter written to the director of the museum. Finally, the children decide to visit the former owner of the statue, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Mrs. Frankweiler a meticulous historian has records on just about everything. As she befriends the children and the mystery begins to unravel, the children don’t realize how close to the truth and home they really are.

REVIEW: I enjoyed reading this book. I loved that the children ran away simply to be appreciated and that Claudia wanted to be running to something. Konigsburg does an excellent job of making the mystery educational and thought provoking. This book makes the reader want to visit the Met just to examine how Claudia and Jaime survived – and to ask themselves could it be done today? Having an understanding and a love for art and art museums also helps one appreciate the story line and the quest to discover the truth. The book will probably appeal more to 3rd through 6th graders.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Sequence of events, conclusions, generalizations, and predictions, and reading varied sources, Compare and contrast (Claudia and Jaime)

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: The subject of running away and the fact that the children do not ever think about how their parents and siblings might be feeling without them.

RELATED BOOKS: The Phantom Tollbooth, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, The View from Saturday, Michelangelo by Mike Venezia

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: 1995 Movie – of the same name- starring Lauren Bacall

Works of Michelangelo


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor


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