Book Review

When the doldrums rustle in, what better way to beat them than by going back and reading a childhood favorite book? One such book is From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Koinsburg.

Since it is a book meant for a younger audience, adults looking back on it will find it a quick and delightful read. The story is that of twelve-year-old Claudia Kincaid. Claudia feels that she is very unappreciated at home. To teach her parents a lesson in “Claudia Appreciation” she decides to run away.

Claudia is smart enough to realize that running away in the heat of anger won’t last long enough to teach her parents a lesson, so she plans every detail carefully. First she chooses to run away to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Then she chooses a companion to run away with her—her nine year old brother, Jamie.  She he saved her allowance; since she intended to come back, she would need the return train fare as well as the fare to get to the museum in the first place.

The two of them head off to New York City. It takes them a few days to get into the habit of hiding at the museum,  learning the schedule of the guards, and when the doors open and close to the public. They have just about settled in when a new exhibit is introduced to the museum—a statue of an angel. The museum had bought the statue at a bargain price, and was researching into the fact that the statue may or may not have been carved by Michelangelo. Claudia and Jamie, practically forgetting that they are runaways, get completely caught up in the mystery of who carved the statue.

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