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

by E.L. Konigsberg (1968)

A Newbery Award winner from yesteryear.

Claudia and Jamie Kincaid run away from their safe Connecticut suburban home and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Can they remain undiscovered?  How can they manage to live on their own?  What happens when they discover a mystery involving a visiting statue of Michaelangelo?  These are the elements that have charmed and fascinated readers for over 50 years.

Claudia and Jamie manage to survive using Jamie’s poker winnings.  He’s not only a card shark, he’s also careful and prudent and stingy with their money, which makes From the Mixed-Up Files a perfect vehicle for financial literacy.  Contrast Claudia’s desire for a nice lunch with Jamie’s frugalness, and add a dash of ingenuity when Jamie finds unexpected new sources of income.  Students and families will reap financial lessons as they re-live Claudia and Jamie’s every-day decisions on how to ride the train, where to eat lunch, how to mail a package, and how to husband their limited resources.

From the Mixed-Up Files amps up the action when Claudia and Jamie finally meet the mysterious Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  Now, the classic runaway tale turns into a tale of intrigue and detective work.

Readers will enjoy the siblings’ banter, spats about grammar, humor, and quick thinking. Both children and adults will be curious about the Angel statue, but also about the omniscient and understanding narrator, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. As one mystery leads to the other, the runaways discover the truth about the statue…and themselves.

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