Saturday, April 1, 2023

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

When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort - she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because he was a miser and would have money.

Claudia was a good organizer and Jamie had some ideas, too; so the two took up residence at the museum right on schedule. But once the fun of settling in was over, Claudia had two unexpected problems: She felt just the same, and she wanted to feel different; and she found a statue at the Museum so beautiful she could not go home until she had discovered its maker, a question that baffled the experts, too.

The former owner of the statue was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Without her - well, without her, Claudia might never have found a way to go home.

Hardcover, 162 pages
Published March 1, 1967 
by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Several years ago, I embarked on a mission to read all of the John Newbery Honour winners. This prestigious award has been bestowed upon exceptional children's books since 1922. While I still have a long way to go with these middle-grade novels, I manage to read a handful each year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was the recipient of this esteemed award.

The story follows the escapades of siblings Claudia and Jamie, who run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The tale is narrated from the perspective of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, leaving this reader to ponder her connection to the two children.

Claudia masterminds the runaway plan, enlisting her younger brother Jamie to join her. Jamie's frugality and savings make him the perfect partner for this adventure.  The reason for this adventure is made clear with an unexpected quest added along the way.

From the Mixed Up Files is a story of siblings, adventure and mayhem. Unlike many of the honour winners, this book is a fun and entertaining read, filled with words of wisdom, lessons in frugality, and adventure.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off myself challenge. #26

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