Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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

1968 Newbery Winner
Finished 12-30-06

Claudia has been developing a master plan for weeks. She is going to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, find some excitement, teach her parents to appreciate her, and come home. Oh, and she’ll take her younger brother Jamie, because he happens to be the rich one in the family. The plan is executed, but it takes an unexpected turn when the museum acquires a statue of an angel, supposedly sculpted by Michaelangelo, that fascinates Claudia. She is determined to find the true origin of the statue.

When talking about this book, a point that a lot of people bring up is the utter lack of concern that Claudia and Jamie have for how their parents will feel when they turn up missing. And it’s true, that did bother me a bit. I ended up feeling like the author was kind of ignoring the issue. It would have added a whole new dimension to the book had she dealt with that, and my guess is that she simply didn’t want to go into that. After a little bit of thought, I decided that definitely wasn’t something worth getting up in arms over.

Claudia and Jamie were portrayed well. They displayed a moderate amount of sibling irritation towards each other, yet this was shown in almost a humorous way. Their relationship had elements of realism, but never turned overly sour. I was glad for that. I didn’t want to read a book all about sibling rivalry.

I liked this book a lot, but didn’t love it as much as many others do. Still, it was a worthy Newbery book, and the enthralling idea of “running away” to a museum will keep its appeal for many generations of kids.

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