Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review -- From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Claudia and Jamie Kincaid are not running away from something -- but running TO something -- in this case, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Claudia, the mastermind of the escapade has written a good bye letter to her parents, persuaded her younger brother to join her and has headed off on the adventure of her life. The encounter has them sleeping in ancient royal beds, bathing in fountains and hiding in bathroom stalls. Along the way the come face to face with Angel, a recently donated statue to the museum, believed by many to be a lost work of Michelangelo. They are determined to find out if the rumors are true.

This was our mother/daughter book choice for March. I’m sad to admit that my daughter gave up after chapter two. In her defense, I could see where this book may be advanced for some readers (like my daughter!). The author uses third person narration that was confusing at times, and some of the dialogue and vocabulary was more than she may be used to reading. I should have been more willing to read it to her, but she seemed determined to be done with it, so I didn’t want to be belligerent about it. I want book group to be a fun experience, not something that is forced on her. Once she got there and all the other girls had read it, I think she regretted not putting forth more effort. That’s the kind of peer pressure I appreciate and it will have more of an influence than my nagging!

I, however, did finish the book and I thought it was delightful. Jamie and Claudia were intuitive, imaginative, industrious and FRUGAL! I loved how they worked together to navigate this “adventure.” Their dialogue was pitch perfect older sister/younger brother banter. On the other hand, as a parent, I was infuriated at these kids for ignoring the anguish and misery their parents must be experiencing. I wanted to wring their necks on more than one occasion during this book.

Every month I hold my breath thinking this will be the last book group because moms/girls are going to drop out. But every month I’m surprised that pairs show up and are excited and energetic about the questions and discussion. We did have one mother/daughter pair drop out this week, but our group of 8 managed just fine.

Our April book is The 1st Nancy Drew – The Secret of the Old Clock.

Book source: personal copy

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Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Thanks for this review. I wanted to read this book for The Shelf Discovery Challenge but I can't seem to find the book at the library or through BookMooch. I know it's an older book. I will have to try other libraries in the city.

Julie P. said...

Loved this book as a kid and an adult! We read it last year for Mother Daughter book club and most of the girls loved it!

Kim said...

I'm so glad you ended up liking it. Everytime I read about your mother/daughter book club I think, "I have to get one of those started!" Soon!!

Stephanie Soper said...

This is one of my absolute favorites from childhood -- the sheer adventure and inventiveness and independence of it. The first time I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the things I was the most excited to see were the big bed they slept in and the fountain where they collected change. And I loved Mrs. Frankweiler. The whole NYC thing, to a girl from Rumford, Rhode Island, was immensely exotic.