Friday 29 May 2015

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

Dark black sketches by author add to this file, starting with a letter from Mrs. Frankweiler 82, to her lawyer Saxonburg. Claudia 11, bored by suburbia luxury and responsibility, runs away with wealthier brother Jamie 9, to the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art (map included). The collector sold the museum a small statue, the Angel. By Michelangelo or not? Claudia must know.

This is a re-published classic children's story, originally from the 60's. Just a little early for me(!) but I understand that a whole generation of writers was inspired by this story. And having read it, I can see why.

A short and sweet story, it tells of Claudia and her desire to run away. Not because she's unhappy but more because she wants to change. She enlists the help of her younger bother Jamie and they catch the train into the city and live in the Museum of Art. They learn to avoid the guards, sleep in ancient royalty's beds, wash in the restaurant fountain and then there are pulled into the mystery of a possible Michaelangelo statue. 

Both kids were adorable and had their own personalities, yet I could tell they were siblings. Claudia, as the oldest child, was bossy, stubborn, liked to give directions but not take them, while Jamie, only 8, was surprisingly smart and money-conscious. They bickered but they relied on each other and I loved that portrayal. 

As we get through the book, more clues pour out about this narrator. I really liked how it was told from Mrs Frankweiler's perspective but as if she was acting as an omniscient observer. All becomes clear by the end of the book, and in a nice clean circle. A sweet little tale of discovering secrets and growing up. 

Published 4th June 2015 by Pushkin Children's Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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