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From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967)

by E. L. Konigsburg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,971278324 (4.15)1 / 362
Having run away with her younger brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, twelve-year-old Claudia strives to keep things in order in their new home and to become a changed person and a heroine to herself.
  1. 140
    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (infiniteletters)
  2. 100
    The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: These books share an imaginative, adventurous quality, with compelling young characters. The plots/settings are very different, but they have some thematic similarities.
  3. 70
    Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (bell7)
  4. 70
    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (infiniteletters)
  5. 20
    Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers (jfoster_sf)
    jfoster_sf: Another great book that centers around a museum. This one is about Theo, a girl whose parents are curators. Most of the time her parents get so wrapped up in their work that Theo ends up spending the night in the museum. Her favorite spot? An ancient sarcophagus she keeps handy to protect her from all the evil spirits lurking about the museum at night. Most of the Egyptian items are covered with curses, and Theo is working to remove the curses and protect her parents and the other museum workers from evil. Really fun read!… (more)
  6. 20
    The Calder Game by Blue Balliett (Anonymous user)
  7. 10
    The Law of Gravity by Johanna Hurwitz (muumi)
    muumi: In The Law of Gravity (aka What Goes Up Must Come Down) Margo Green and her friend Bernie visit the MMA and make sure to search out 'the bed that Claudia slept in, in the movie'. It's quite a suitable literary pilgrimage, because What Goes Up is another delightful book set in Manhattan, with another heroine determined to change her own life.… (more)
  8. 10
    Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Ciruelo)
  9. 10
    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (beyondthefourthwall)
  10. 10
    Flight of the Doves by Walter Macken (bookel)
  11. 10
    Father's Arcane Daughter by E. L. Konigsburg (raizel)
    raizel: Like many others of her books, this one---my favorite---should be read by adults as well as children.
  12. 00
    Hideaway by Beverly Hollett Renner (bookel)
  13. 00
    The Hideout by Eve Bunting (bookel)
  14. 00
    The Lancelot Closes at Five by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (bookel)
  15. 00
    The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone (kaledrina)
  16. 00
    Secrets of the Shopping Mall by Richard Peck (bookel)
  17. 11
    The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (jbarry)
    jbarry: clever children abound
  18. 00
    Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: While intelligent young people in New York City have unusual adventures that revolve around mysteries -- Liar's Georges spies on neighbors; Claudia hides out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- their observations, conversations, emotions and experiences are entirely convincing.… (more)
  19. 00
    Mystery in the Flooded Museum by Margaret Goff Clark (bookel)
  20. 46
    The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (jbarry)
    jbarry: Smart, witty and clever kids!

(see all 20 recommendations)

1960s (66)
scav (27)
1970s (650)

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» See also 362 mentions

English (276)  Catalan (1)  All languages (277)
Showing 1-5 of 276 (next | show all)
A mildly amusing story of a preteen who runs away to New York City, and takes her younger brother with her. I never felt a connection with the children, and didn't wonder how their adventure was going to end. ( )
  fuzzi | Feb 10, 2024 |
Upon reading this for the fourth or fifth time, I love it more than ever.

I'm adding it to my historical fiction shelf because everything I found objectionable about it when I was younger makes sense to me in light of what I know now about the 1950s and early 60s. Also, the writing is so clever that it's easy to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the delightful storytelling. Easily one of the most "historical" parts of this story is Claudia's attitude toward grammar. She was very concerned about Jamie's dangling prepositions. I'm sure Claudia would grow up to be the kind of person who wants to scream when someone uses "literally" to mean its opposite. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
This is just such a very excellent book! This is my second time reading it as an adult and I just loved it. What an adventure! I am setting up a Battle of the Books competition for my kids and this is one of our selections. I'm hoping some of them will love it as much as I do! ( )
  classyhomemaker | Dec 11, 2023 |
E. L. Konigsburg’s 1967 book “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” is a children's fiction classic. Written over fifty years ago, author E.L. Konigsburg's children’s literature classic highlighted the wonder of museums, and in particular, art museums. The popularity of Konigsburg's novel created a resurgence in museum attendance nationwide and ushered in a new era of museum security. You see, the central conceit (imagery) that the novel evokes is that of children running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and living within its galleries.

Feeling unappreciated by her parents and bored with her orderly, straight-A existence, Claudia Kinkaid wants to go on an adventure and teach her parents a lesson. She is nearly twelve when she decides to run away from her home in suburban Connecticut. Being practical, she chooses a comfortable destination--New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art--and a thrifty traveling companion, her nine-year-old brother Jamie. Like Home Alone 2, Claudia and Jamie find out that New York is a great place to hideout. No one notices no one.

After careful planning, Claudia and Jamie arrive at the museum, hiding from the guards in the rest rooms, sleeping on priceless beds, and bathing in the fountain. But when a statue of an angel, rumored to be a possible Michelangelo, is given to the museum, Claudia decides they must solve the mystery. Their search leads them to the statue's original owner, eccentric Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, who narrates the story in a peppery letter to her lawyer. Mrs. Frankweiler both solves the mystery and helps Claudia understand why the secret of the statue is so important to her.

The novel reads as if we were watching a Wes Anderson film (In the director’s commentary for The Royal Tenenbaums DVD, Wes Anderson says the book inspired him to construct a mini-museum in a bank for Margot and Richie to “run away to.” Come on, Wes, make an adaptation). Konigsburg's novel is smart, quirky, and a pure delight (hence the comparison to Anderson films). The quest for the sculptor's identity is bound inextricably with Claudia's own search for self. The mystery is complicated, but the voice of Mrs. Frankweiler allows the author to clarify without ever seeming to lecture. An unusual choice for a children's-book narrator, 82-year-old Mrs. Frankweiler makes a precise and witty storyteller. She even saves one delicious secret for the very end that ties the story together nicely.

The novel has historical ties as well. According to the Smithsonian, "In October 1965, Konigsburg found specific inspiration—one that set the mystery at the heart of the book in motion. At the time, the New York art world was obsessed with the question of whether a sculpture purchased by the Met for $225 was actually a work by Leonardo da Vinci. (It is now believed to be a da Vinci from 1475.) Konigsburg reimagined the statue as “Angel,” the could-be-a-Michelangelo that captures Claudia’s imagination and leads her to the mansion of the titular Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler."(https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/fifty-years-ago-two-kids-slept-over-met-museum-and-literary-classic-was-born-180963325/). Additionally, Konigsburg was influenced by her own children to write this classic novel.

Sadly, the novel's illustrations have not aged well but do not let that persuade you from reading this wonderful novel.
( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 276 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Konigsburg, E. L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clayburgh, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drukker, BettienaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miner, JanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thé Tjong-KhingCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To David, with love and pluses
First words
To my lawyer, Saxonberg:

I can't say that I enjoyed your last visit. (Prologue)
Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away.
"Secrets are the kind of adventure she needs. Secrets are safe, and they do much to make you different." p.150.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Having run away with her younger brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, twelve-year-old Claudia strives to keep things in order in their new home and to become a changed person and a heroine to herself.

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Book description
Two suburban children run away from their Connecticut home and go to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where their ingenuity enables them to live in luxury.

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