Saturday, January 29, 2011

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Author: E. L. Konigsburg
Publisher: New York :, Atheneum, 1967.

Plot Description:
            Eldest child Claudia, feeling underappreciated for all her hard work helping with chores and taking care of her brothers, decides to run away on a grand adventure to make her parents truly value everything she does.  Together with her younger brother Jamie, the financial whiz of the two, they take decide to hide in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It is here they discover a beautiful statue, one who’s creator is a mystery.  They decide that their grand adventure would not be complete until they discover who created it, and learn more about themselves in the process.

            A classic book for many reasons.  Despite it taking place over 40 years ago, the sentiments of the well organized eldest child echo across generations.  It’s sparks ones sense of adventure while demonstrating that your problems don’t disappear if you do.  The overlying theme of the story, that we all are who we are regardless of where we are (or in Claudia’s case-once an organized oldest child, always an organized oldest child).  The concept of keeping ones individuality in the midst of whatever personality you have is one that will ring well with children of all ages.

Genre: Fiction

Reading level:  5th Grade

Similar Books: Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time

Reader’s Advisory:
Subjects/themes- Siblings, adventure, growing up
Awards- 1968 Newbery Medal; Library of Congress Children's Book of the Year; ALA Notable Children's Book.
Character names/descriptions-
Claudia- Oldest daughter, unappreciated for how wonderful she is, organizes every aspect of the trip and keeps younger brother Jamie in line
            Jamie- 3rd youngest child, financial whiz
Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- mysterious seller of the statue who helps Jamie and Claudia return from their adventure with the knowledge that they had one
Annotation: A grand adventure, a mysterious statue, a brother and sister out to discover the truth!

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