Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Publication Date: Originally published 1967, Anniversary Edition published in 2002
Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers
Price: $13.86 (Hardcover)
Number of Pages: 176 pages
Awards: 1967 Newbery Medal
Genre/Subgenre: Classic, mystery
A runaway brother and sister, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a mysterious angel statue.
Eleven-year-old Claudia Kincaid wants a change – to get away from her ordinary life and do something that will make her special. With the companionship and financial backing of her younger brother Jamie, Claudia runs away to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. As they live in the Met, Claudia and Jamie form a closer bond and gain a new appreciation for each other. They are further united as a team when they discover a beautiful angel statue with a mysterious past and determine to learn as much about her as possible. Their search for an answer leads them to the mansion of the elderly, mysterious, and wealthy Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and her collection of assorted articles and secrets. Will the siblings learn the secret of Angel? Will they be caught living in the Museum? Read the book to find out!
After reading this book for the first time in fourth grade and many times since then, I must conclude that it is one of the finest pieces of children’s literature I have encountered. E.L. Konigsburg has created relatable characters, an intriguing plot, and a lovely portrayal of the bonds of siblings. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is well-written, amusing, and compelling – a must-read for library patrons young and old.
Why I Chose the Book:
Like Claudia, Jamie, and I suspect many readers, I love the idea of running away to live in a museum. I can’t imagine anything more fun than living amongst famous works of art and pieces of history, not to mention discovering the answer to a centuries-old mystery, so Claudia and Jamie’s story was very appealing to me. I think that young readers would appreciate the humor and mystery of this novel, making it an excellent choice for classrooms and libraries alike.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
The Second Mrs. Giaconda by E.L. Konigsburg
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Synder
Book Talk Ideas
– Discuss the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the artists and exhibits mentioned in the novel
1. Compare and contrast Jamie and Claudia. What are their defining characteristics? What makes them a good team?
2. Why does Claudia want to discover the mystery of Angel? Why does Jamie? Do you think that either of them gets what they want?
3. What would be your strategy for living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Evaluate Claudia and Jamie’s strategy and compare with your own. How would running away to the Met in 2014 be different from running away in the 1960’s like Claudia and Jamie?
E.L. Konigsburg. (2014). Goodreads. Retrieved from: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2713.E_L_Konigsburg?from_search=true
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. (2014). Scholastic. Retrieved from:http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/mixed-files-mrs-basil-e-frankweiler#cart/cleanup
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: 35th Anniversary Edition. (2014). Amazon. Retrieved from: http://www.amazon.com/Mixed-up-Files-Mrs-Basil-Frankweiler/dp/068985322X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1394141540
Konigsburg, E.L. (1967, 2002). From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. New York: Simon Pulse.
Langridge, B. (2014). Read-Alikes. A Book and A Hug. Retrieved from: http://www.abookandahug.com/read-alikes
Museum Kids. (2001). The Mixed-Up Files Issue. [Brochure]. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved from: http://www.metmuseum.org/~/media/Files/Learn/Family%20Map%20and%20Guides/MuseumKids/The%20Mixed%20Up%20Files%20Issue.pdf