From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
THE DAUGHTER PERSPECTIVE
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is by E.L Konigsburg. It’s a book that my mom said was funny, so we read it aloud together. It is pretty funny. I would recommend it for 7 to 13 year olds because some of the humor will not catch younger children’s attention and some older kids might not think it is that funny.
This book is about a girl named Claudia who is the oldest and only girl in the family. She wants to run away because she feels like no one ever notices her except one of her brothers, Jamie, who she thinks will be willing to run away with her. At first he does not like that idea, but once he finds out they are going to stay in a museum, he wants to go. Surprisingly to Claudia, Jamie loves school, so he decides to go with her.
This book is full of adventures, mysteries and it is hilarious. You will love this book if you like all of these things. It is also about a little bit of history. Please read this book. You will adore it. I know that I definitely did.
THE MOTHER PERSPECTIVE
I first read From the Mixed Up Files during a YA Literature phase I went through as a new teacher. I somehow missed this Newbery Medal winner as a kid, but I enjoyed it immensely as an adult. (Maybe even more so, funny how that works, isn’t it?) Konigsburg has an impressive body of work and I suspect a few more of her titles will make our Read Aloud list before too long.
The book was written in 1968, so there are some details that might baffle your kids- like the 20 cent bus fare and the actual paper newspapers and the completely absent electronic devices. There is also the fact that the kids in the story do actually run away from home to the streets of New York City where they hide out in a museum for almost a week and then hitchhike to a mysterious old lady’s house. Suffice it to say your kids should know not to emulate the crazy behavior in the books, but then, they should know that it is foolish to shut oneself up in an old wardrobe as well.
Enmeshed in the adventure story of Claudia and Jamie is a lovely portrait of a sibling relationship and a kind of “coming of age” tale wherein Claudia learns to better understand herself with help from an unlikely source. From the Mixed Up Files is a wonderful story to read with your children or even to just read on your own. But don’t be surprised if you start contemplating what it would take to spend a week hiding out in an art museum.
Have you read this or any other of E.L. Konigsburg's books? What did you think?