basil feature

50 Years Later – From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – A Book Review

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ON OUR BOOKSHELVES

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NOVEL: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

AUTHOR: E.L. Konigsburg

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 1967

REVIEW:

This is just a terrific book; it’s the story, now fifty years old, of two suburban kids (from Greenwich, Connecticut) who run away to New York City to stay at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have yet to meet anyone who is acquainted with Claudia Kincaid and her younger brother, Jamie, who doesn’t love them, and love their adventure. It is a bit of a mystery, this novel, as the runaway children (ages twelve and nine), attempt to find out the truth behind a new exhibit, a statue of an angel, rumored to be by Michelangelo, and recently sold to the museum by Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (for only $225, a mere pittance for a priceless work of art). While they do their research on this matter, they take baths in the fountain, use the coins they pull out of the fountain for spending money, hide in the restrooms to avoid the guards when the museum closes in the evening, and sleep in a sixteenth-century bed.

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The book is recommended for children ages eight to twelve, but it’s absolutely worth reading as an adult as well. Because more than just a mystery story, it’s a coming of age story, and like any good coming of age story, it contains some timeless truths: about family, about courage, about secrets, about experience, about adventure, about heroism, and about accomplishment. (And it will make you want to go to the Met and learn all about the Italian Renaissance!)

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RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best: 4 1/2 Whistles

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HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon

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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Simon & Schuster Publishing / Atheneum Books for Young Readers

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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com

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