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From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Paperback – Deckle Edge, September 25, 2007
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About the Author
- Lexile measure : 700L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 6.1 ounces
- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1416949755
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.25 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-1416949756
- Reading level : 8 - 12 years
- Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 25, 2007)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #37,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because we had the most creative and character-building discussions about the plot, the characters and their motivations. I will not share the debates or the essays written later by the students (and frankly I have forgotten half of it) but would mention just some of the main points of our conclusion:
1.The plot is fascinating and often humorous.
2.. The children were inventive and used surprising skills at their research; they were original
3. A family is a cooperative unit and each member must accept some tasks. Running away from responsibilities (as they have done) is not an option.The concept of family unit and the give-and take was destroyed
3.The children did not respect cultural treasures; they used the valuable collections in the museum, such as the bed, at their convenience The problem born from this attitude is obvious: as a teacher try to take the class on a study tour to a museum or a palace and insist that they do not touch the paintings or displays! ’Why can’t I just touch it?’ They would whine. ’After all, Claudia slept in a royal bed!’. You must admit that their argument has a point, although the official museum guard would hardly be impressed nor ready to accept it.
4.They collected the money from the fountain, which of course was not theirs—they were stealing
5 They used the fountain to take their bath--again absolute disrespect for public property
6. Claudia took her brother along, only because he had some money—used false pretenses, was conniving and calluos dishonest
7. Not caring what sort of worries they caused with their disappearance – they were unfeeling, unloving and irresponsible
8. Claudia’s brother was a little cheating individual, who enriched himself by questioanble card games
9. After having all the fun and committing a number of unacceptable ethical and moral slips, and showing behavior of which few parents would be proud, they returned home in glory as celebrated heros, thus the missteps were not just forgotten, but rewarded and glorified. The discovery they made absolved them from the consequences of misbehavior. Success and fame took precedence over character and decency. Granted, this is often so in the adult world —but must we train our children in this aberrant role?
Another Ice Age passed since (or seemed to have passed) and I suppose the book is outdated and no longer read by children. Then why make a comment about it at this late date? Perhaps because I am old and almost by definition conservative. I believe that the message in the book is all wrong and destructive. During my long years of teaching I saw a gradual change in the behavior and morality of youngsters. Obviously this is a complex and worldwide problem and therefore it is impossible (and foolish) to point to a single factor and scream „There you have it! This is the reason for the worrisome change.” But it is my holy conviction that more care should be given what kind of books are handed to children, because books, even today when they are fighting a losing battle against games and gadgets, have a powerful influence on the developing character. This issue is as up--to-date as this morning’s paper and it should concern us all. I saw sadly that even the negative comments did not often remark on these glaring issues-- and writers of the five star comments did not seem to consider it at all. It was also interesting to read the „comments on the comments” section-- and notice the almost vicious, odten insulting attacks on writers, whose opinion was different and who were concerned about the basic issues. I suppose the judgement of the book will remain controversial and some will always love it and some will never forgive its shortcomings. My students gained a great deal by reading the book, or rather by the discussion following it, -- but in a way that was not intended by the author or by the Newberry team that awarded this basically destructive book. JPB, Author and reader.
Instead children’s books tell simple stories that often do a great job of getting to root meanings of life.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler is one of the classics that I think has held up fairly well. Claudia, a 12 year-old oldest child that feels like she is underappreciated by her parents and decides to run away. Her younger brother, Jamie, comes with her mostly for the adventure. Most kids would identify with one or both of these reasons for running away.
They take the train from the suburbs of Connecticut to Manhattan and move into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While they are there, a statue starts showing that may be a lost work of Michelangelo. This gives a purpose not only to the story, but especially to Claudia, who ran away in part to find purpose and meaning.
If you haven’t read the story, I won’t blow the whole thing, but I did think the book held up very well from 1967. It does not feel like an old book, although clearly there are anacronysism that modern readers (child) will not always understand (if nothing else the wildly different prices.)
I listened to the audiobook from the library. As always, books that I have not read since childhood seem so much shorter today than my memory of them. I listened to the whole thing during an afternoon of data entry work.
Top reviews from other countries
eventual meeting with two children who run away and sleep in a museum.
Having read it to my son a second time, as a 40 something adult, it still retains some magic.
The younger child has impressive verbal skills for his age.
It is a well written story, though it does drag on in sections. I simply can't imagine a statue
having as much appeal for modern children as it had in the story. I would have liked to see
a bit more emotional growth in terms of the children realizing that their lives aren't all that terrible.
I'm not sure I like the indepth discussion on keeping secrets.
This story may not appeal to todays children who are more interested in discussion on the tech
protecting the statue or looking for more imaginary adventures the children could have had pretending
they were back in various points on the historical timeline.
I am so glad I decided to buy it and read it. Great characters and a fine adventure.
I look forward to reading this to my class in London and hope that they enjoy it as much as I did.
A great bedtime story book with a mix of adventure, mystery, and surprise, some interesting characters, and that offers you things to think about. I enjoyed it and would really recommended it for ages 8-12 or grown ups who enjoy a good children's book!