Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Module 4: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Citation: Konigsburg, E.L., (1967). From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Summary: Young Claudia Kincaid has a plan to run away from home, but in order for her plan to go well she decides to take along her nine year old brother, Jaime, who is beneficial to her plan.  Jaime, who is good at saving money, tags along for the adventure and Claudia’s plan includes using his money to help them through their adventure.  Claudia decides upon a final destination of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Claudia and Jamie’s days are filled with touring the exhibits and in order to feed their hunger, they stretch their money by eating small meals.  Their adventure takes a turn into solving a mystery as they discover an angel statue that has an M initial.  Could this angel be artwork from the famous Michelangelo?  Claudia and Jaime are determined to find out and through their research, they find that Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will have answers for them.

Impression: Peace & an Adventurous Read! This is not a read I can say I really enjoyed, although it does include adventure for young ones.  Everyone can remember a time or two when they would of liked to run away from home because they were upset about something.  This book can enable you to get involved in Claudia & Jaime’s adventure.  It is interesting to see how they are able to stay overnight in a museum of grand size and being able to stay undiscovered for days.  A few things I did not like about the story is how it is told through a different perspective other than one of the children and being able to see how one or both of the characters felt remorse for their decisions affecting their loved ones. 

Reviews: Claudia Kincaid, age eleven, is running away from home. She already has it all planned out, in fact. She leaves her unappreciative family, her annoying little brothers, and her straight-A grades for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she will live in luxury, surrounded by some of the best art in the world. She does, however, bring one of her little brothers along, partly because he’s the least annoying of them and mostly because he saves his money, which she kind of needs to feed herself.

They really do set up shop in the museum, where they hide from security and sneak into school field trips’ tours. They learn all about all the different exhibits within the museum, from paintings to medieval weaponry. And their attention is caught by a mysterious statue nicknamed Angel, supposedly carved by Michelangelo himself, which leads to a whole mess of investigating.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a kind of fun, kind of quirky in its tone, kind of an art education, and definitely a coming-of-age story about Claudia, who is so real she feels like she could walk out of the book and show up at your school. But I think the best part of the book is that even though it has some wise messages, it doesn’t preach. This book is one that allows you, like Claudia, to come to your own realizations.

avalancheLily. (n. d.). From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Retrieved from http://www.teenink.com/reviews/book_reviews/article/442064/From-the-Mixed-Up-Files-of-Mrs-Basil-E-Frankweiler-by-EL-Konigsburg/

Elaine Konigsburg's first sharp bite of suburban life, Jennifer, He- cate, Macbeth...(131, J-43) was a dilly; this one's a dandy--just as fast and fresh and funny, but less spoofing, more penetrating. From the files of Mrs. Frankweiler comes the chronicle of Claudia Kincaid, almost twelve, and her brother Jamie, who is nine. Tired of being her same old taken-for-granted self, Claudia decides to run away, and Jamie goes along because he is flattered at being asked. Claudia has planned every detail: escape on the empty school bus, change of clothing in a violin case, sanctuary in the Metropolitan Museum. For a week the children elude the guards and exploit the opportunities of the museum: they sleep in a royal bed, bathe in the cafeteria pool, and pass part of each day in study on the fringe of lecture tours. Midweek, a marble angel of dubious origin arrives; Claudia is convinced that it is a Michelangelo and determines to prove it: she will authenticate Angel and become a heroine before going home. But no--by arrangement of Mrs. Frankweiler, she goes home a heroine only to herself (and happy); and she knows something about secrets she hadn't known before--they have to come to an end... Like the title, Mrs. Frankweiler is a bit of a nuisance; and an offhand, rather bemused reference to dope addiction is unnecessary but not inappropriate. What matters is that beyond the intriguing central situation and its ingenious, very natural development, there's a deepening rapport between their parents; "we're well trained (and sure of ourselves)...just look how nicely we've managed. It's really they're fault if we're not homesick." There may be a run on the Metropolitan (a map is provided); there will surely be a run on the book.

Kirkus reviews. (September 1, 1967). From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/el-konigsburg/from-mixed-up-files-of-mrs-basil-e-frankweiler/

Use in Library: -This book would be great to use as an independent read for students.  It could be used in a reading group and discussed as students move through chapters.

-It could also be used as a read aloud and can be compared to other Newbery Award winners.

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