Customer Reviews: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
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Claudia Kincaid is almost twelve, a straight "A" student, only girl and eldest child of four, who decides to run away to somewhere beautiful, comfortable, and preferably indoors.

Claudia is in fact rebelling against the monotony of her life, unfair distribution of labor, limited television choices and low allowance.

Ever the organizer, she carefully formulates a master plan to escape to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and enlists her middle brother Jamie to join her. Of course, there are very practical reasons that Jamie was the chosen one, and after Claudia tears down his defenses, he becomes a willing accomplice.

The story tells of their grand adventure, and how they were able to survive undetected inside the Met for a whole week. While there, they take the opportunity to learn new things, and become captivated by the newest exhibit, a marble angel that may just be a genuine Michelangelo sculpture.

There and then, Claudia resolves to solve the mystery before returning home, but unfortunately, finances are running low and time is running out for the fugitives.

Through dogged determination, they use the last of their resources to locate the former owner of the angel, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the lady of the title and narrator of the story. After winning the good lady's favorable consideration, they negotiate a deal with her, the outcome of which decides the success or failure of their adventure.

A charming story, with a little educational material sneakily tucked between the paragraphs. A good book for children with enquiring minds, and a useful tool when planning your next family or school trip to the Met.

Amanda Richards, January 13, 2005
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on July 23, 2000
Almost six years ago, at the age of 10, I first read this book. I didn't enjoy it much, but the second time around at age 11 I loved it...and gained access to a whole new world. Later, I occasionally picked it up again and never grew bored with the tale. It's so exciting to read how Claudia and Jamie, two siblings, made careful, detailed plans to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They survived by taking baths in a fountain, sleeping on a royal bed, and taking tours with school groups. Their vacation from normal life became a quest when Angel, a sculpture rumored to be done by Michaelangelo, was brought to the museum. Will they solve the mystery? Read it to find out.
There are very few things I disliked about this book, and there is everything to love about it. Claudia and Jamie allowed me to vicariously experience running away from home. (but don't worry parents, your kids will probably not run away because of the book) I felt like I was right there with them. I wish I could live with Mrs. Frankweiler. The story is so realistic and timeless that it sounds as if it could occur today. It is full of edge-of-your-seat suspense and mystery. It also inspired me to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the future.
Overall, you can't go wrong with this book. It will delight and resonate with people of all ages. I strongly reccomend it. Treat yourself to "Files" right now!
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on July 18, 2000
"From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" has got to be the longest, most confusing title of any classic children's novel, and I wouldn't change a word of it! Having read my copy to pieces in the fourth and fifth grade, I recently bought another copy to have in my daughter's library. Even though she's only 3 now, I know she'll love this book in a few years. To this day, whenever I go into a museum, I find myself wanting to sneak into the bathrooms and hide there until after closing, just so I can sleep in one of those old beds and jump into the museum fountain for the spare change! The novel is as good now as it was thirty years ago, with all the same simple beauty of this fantasy of the successful runaway. If you haven't read it yet, I envy you. If you have, read it again -- it just gets better with age.
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on July 19, 2005
I am in the 4th grade and I had to read this book for school. It was the best book I have ever read. I really liked hearing about their adventures and trying to solve the mystery along with them. If you have a kid, I think you should buy this book for them.
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on July 25, 2002
I read this book for the first time what seems like 100 years ago, and its story has never left me. This is the chronicle of Claudia, who is certain that she is gravely mistreated at home. She convinces her younger brother to run away with her, and her point of destination is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Running away and living in that fabulous museum would be story enough, if you ask me. However, during their stay at the museum they stumble upon a secret involving a beautiful sculpted angel with curious markings on its base. The story weaves a engrossing mystery that is solved by the two children with the help of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. However, the solution to the mystery is not the point of the story. These children learn that some secrets can be beautiful and can change who you are forever. I loved this book when I was nine, and I love this book today -- some twenty plus years later. Read this book yourself, read it to your child, read it with your child. It will become part of who you are.
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VINE VOICEon August 2, 2000
My mother bought me this book when I was seven years old. She gave me a brief synopsis -- a brother and sister run away and live in the museum. Naturally, my curiosity was fully aroused and I just had to read this book! I did and loved it! I read it several times from ages 7 - 9. To this day, I can remember the goosebumps I had from reading about Claudia and Jamie remaining on the school bus, ready to sneak off to the train station. I laughed aloud at the thought of them taking a bath in the museum fountain. They were the most original, the most resourceful and by far and away the most interesting and captivating runaways ever to grace the pages of literature. I still have my old copy from my childhood. It is something I will always treasure.
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on January 11, 2001
"From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg takes place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This book is an adventurous fiction. The main characters of the story are Claudia, a 12 year old girl who loves adventure, Jamie, an 8 year old boy who is rich, and Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, an old lady who is so rich that she has an elevator in her house. In this book, Claudia and Jamie run away from home and stay in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They find out about a statue of an angel that people think was carved by the master Michelangelo. Claudia and Jamie spend days finding out about Michelangelo and the angel sculpture. They go to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler's house to find out if she knows if Michelangelo made Angel. Will Jamie and Claudia ever go home? Will they solve the mystery of Angel? Find out in "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." I only gave it 4 stars because the book seemed long and was boring to me at the beginning, but it got better. I would recommend this book for kids in fourth grade and up.
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on August 17, 2005
I read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I was in middle school, and the plot has remained in my mind throughout all of the years. After all, when I was a twelve-year-old, there was nothing that sounded more magical, and yet practical, than running away with my brother to the largest art museum in America! Some elements of their transition to life alone are remeniscent of the "survival in the wilderness" genre of children's literature, although this book is so much more sophisticated. The details of the children's new lifestyle is far more humorous and intruiging than other kid's survival stories. After reading this book, I wished that I lived closer to New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The first time I entered the Met, I got the chills, as I entered the setting of one of my favorite books from years before. I ran to look for the fountian where Claudia and James bathed (and found a clever solution to their shrinking budget). I searched for the statue called "Angel," the statue that Claudia and James tried to trace in a plotline which tales the book to its conclusion. Although I never found "Angel," I wished more than anything that I could find a way to camp out in the museum!

My only criticism of this book is that it ran out of steam before the ending. Claudia and James's adjustment to life in the museum is far more interesting than the adventure with the statue and Mrs. Basil Frankweiler. That aside, the premise of the plot, the clever characters, and the adorable illustrations (by Konigsberg herself) make this book extrememly memorable. It's even educational, although I hardly noticed because I was having so much fun when I read it.
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on April 19, 2000
Two young siblings, Claudia and Jamie, run away from home and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in this Newbery Award winning book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler. After Claudia decides that she is tired of dealing with injustice in her family-having to do the dishes and the trash on the same night while her three brothers do neither-Claudia saves up her money and talks her younger brother Jamie into running away with her. This wonderfully written book shares their adventures of hiding out in a museum for a few weeks and how they helped uncover the age-old mystery of who the artist of a beautiful statue was. I see this book to be a great example of a classic young adult novel. Not only did it win the Newbery Award, but it meets several other criteria as well. "Children's Classics in the Electronic Medium" defines a classic book as "books that have stood the test of time" (186). This means that the books have been passed down from generation to generation and "it has something important to say" (186). Classic books, the article notes, also "include such elements as effective characterization, narrative, illustration, and an enduring and universal message or moral" (186). The only aspect missing from this book being classified as a classic is being passed down from one generation to the next. This will take care of itself over time, and surely From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler will become a classic novel. First, Konigsburg does a great job of effective characterization. Konigsburg describes Claudia, the main character, not only physically, but also using the thoughts that are going through Claudia's head. Claudia describes why she is running away as "Maybe it had to do with injustice...A reason that had to do with the sameness of each and every week. She was bored with simply being straight-A's Claudia Kincaid. She was tired of arguing about whose turn it was to choose the Sunday night seven-thirty television show, of injustice, of the monotony of everything (12). The book goes on to discuss what Jamie and the rest of Claudia's family is like. It digs deeper than just surface characterization. By the end of the descriptions, the reader understands what is going on in side the main characters' heads. Konigsburg also does a great job of effective narration. As the reader reads further along in the book, it is discovered that the entire book is written from the point of view of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler in a letter to her lawyer of the events that took place of how she met Jamie and Claudia. Anytime there might be an event that is unclear to the readers, Mrs. Frankenweiler explains it in more detail in parentheses as writing to her lawyer. For example, when describing the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mrs. Frankenweiler writes, "Shame on you! You've never set your well-polished shoes inside that museum. More than a quarter of a million people come to visit that museum every week" (37). Including additional information for the readers made the narration of the story even more enjoyable. As one can see, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler is well on its way to becoming a classic young adult novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would suggest it to any young adult.
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on December 16, 2005
My childhood unfortunately is a long way behind me, yet this book remains with me. I don't know exactly how old I was when I read it, but it is the only children's book that I haven't forgotten.

I spent most of my young adult years remembering the details of the book without remembering either the title or how it ended. I remembered the clandestine stowing away in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and fishing in the fountain for money. It was only years later when I was searching for books for a young relative that I ran across this title and the cover art that brought it all back.

Of course, I couldn't pass up the chance to pass on this book. However, before I passed it on, I read it from front to back. Even though I am far from the targeted age for this book, I found it beautiful and captivating.

I recommend this book for children of all ages. I think it captures the essence of being a child. Even though I can't pinpoint the exact mastery of words or page-turning quality that this book obviously possesses, I am constantly reminded that in some way this book made an impact on me.

If you are thinking about purchasing a book for a child of any age, I would recommend this one. It made an impression on me, and my only hope is that it will have the opportunity to do the same to many more children.
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