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

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  103,858 ratings  ·  3,959 reviews
When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she inv...more
Paperback, 125 pages
Published June 2nd 2003 by Walker Books Ltd (first published 1967)
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Oct 11, 2007 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cleanse their reading palette of obligatory 5th grade reading
OK, I'll admit it: I freakin' hate the Newbery Medal. Any time I see it on the cover of a book, I'm 98.5% sure it sucks. All of the books that have been given this "honor" seem to have been written with the intent of teaching kids some crappy history lesson. There's no magic or mystery to any of them...reading these books is akin to eating dry toast when you know damned well you could cover the bread with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. I mean, if you really want to martyr yourself, do it creativel...more
Lola Wallace
I first read this book when I was 7-going-on-8. I read it, and then I read it again. Then I read it again, and kept going until, according to my personal mythology, I had read it 11 times. And then I stole my school's copy of the book. I hadn't picked it up for many years since then, but this book is woven into my neural pathways every which way, and rereading it still makes me love it more.

The Mixed-Up Files drew me in with its details and paraphernalia
(the instrument cases! the transistor rad...more
For his autumnal yet incandescent family tragicomedy, The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson drew inspiration from a handful of literary works remarkably possessed of whimsy and insightful wit. Chief among these is the late J. D. Salinger’s short but utterly perceptive book, Franny and Zooey, whose title characters are members of the Glass family, the basis for the dysfunctional Tenenbaums in Anderson’s film. The eccentric director, drawing further attention to his enchantment with Salinger’s fictio...more
Bobby Simic
There are certain, special books that I don't want to give up once finished. I guess to prolong the separation and perhaps to somehow physically absorb whatever magic it possesses, I'll find myself pressing my palms against the book, sandwiching it. It doesn't happen very often. But it did happen with this book.

I had never read this book growing up. But I'm so glad that I finally got around to it.

What is it that makes this book so wonderful? Let's begin with Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler's clever na...more
Rebecca Grace
Apr 05, 2008 Rebecca Grace rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to get kids excited about art
Recommended to Rebecca Grace by: My mother
Shelves: children-s-books
I read this years ago as a child and just finished re-reading it with my 7-year-old son. It actually touched off a lot of interesting discussions about what has changed and what has stayed the same in the years since the book was first published in 1967 (my son piped up with all kinds of objections throughout the book, like "what about the motion detectors and the lasers around the art?"). Of course today admission is no longer free at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, no one is allowed to bring i...more
Rachel Hartman
I rated this five stars a long time ago, out of pure nostalgia, without really remembering much about the book beyond "they stayed in the museum." Well, I just finished reading it out loud to my son, and I would just like to reaffirm: YES, five stars. No question.

The plot is so subtle, compared with so much of what is being published now! But wow these kids are individuals. Wow they talk like real humans and have a real and wonderful relationship with each other. My son described Mrs. Basil E. F...more
Sep 26, 2008 Jill rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Children of All Ages
Recommended to Jill by: I found it on
From the Mixed-up Files of
Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
By E.L. Konigsburg

This is a delightful story for children of all ages. I'm wondering why I never discovered this book when I was a kid?

Claudia is planning to run away. She wants a different life, than that of the oldest child, with so many responsibilities. Her brother Jamie doesn't know it yet, but she has chosen him to be her companion. One reason she has chosen Jamie, is because he is good with money. Claudia usually spends her money on h...more
"I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow."
Here's a book that's lost none of its charm. Siblings...more
Claudia and Jamie Kincaid decide to run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. They take their instrument cases filled with clothes and Jamie's transistor radio. They live in the museum for about a week on about $28 and some change. They discover that there's more to life than what they thought and that some experiences make you into a better person.

Loved the relationship between Claude and her brother, loved how she constantly kept correcting his grammar and how he was in charg...more
Will Oberndorfer
I'm not going to discuss the book itself. I won't talk about its themes of escape, the search for truth, or journeys of self-discovery or any of that other junk. I won't even bring up the idea of Claudia as a feminist icon of children's literature. And the narration? Why bother? If it were up to me the audience would never learn Saxonburg's identity, but that's because I'm an asshole.

Instead, I'm going to talk about the bookmark I found about two-thirds into the book. It was a brown plastic tab...more
Alright, here we go with another book from my past that was forced down my throat by the bare hands of an english teacher. I hated this book so much that I decided to just not read it and struggle my way through that time of the year.

After arriving to school the morning after i decided that, i panicked! The current chapter that was to be discussed abruptly fell into the lesson plans of the teacher that morning and i began to panick. I glanced around at the obedient students who plucked out thei...more
One of the first books from the effervescent mind of the great E.L. Konigsburg, this novel stands up as well today as it did when it was first published.
Populated by strong, independent characters as in all of the author's stories, this book follows an interesting story thread of both unique survival and a pressing mystery, as Claudia and her brother hide in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Attempting to keep one step ahead of the police and their parents is not an easy task, but ul...more
joanna Sondheim
Absolutely loved it when I was a kid, and absolutely loved it again as an adult. While the Newbery medalists of late have tended towards dry, very non-kid friendly fiction (I have never seen a child give even a second glance to The Higher Power of Lucky or Criss Cross, no matter the endorsement), this book absolutely deserves every bid of adulation it's been given. Claudia and Jamie's adventure feels just as fresh as ever, and while Manhattan has definitely gone through some major changes since...more
Jul 22, 2009 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I loved this as a kid and forgot all about it. I found it again while rummaging around a local bookstore during the "Squawking Matilda" book signing. (How's that for promo Lisa?) The story was as sweet as I remembered, and I learned something new too. A couple of months ago, I visited Brookgreen Gardens in SC. It is the first and only outdoor sculpture garden of it's type in the US. A truly amazing place. An illustration from the book (set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) reminded me of one of...more
Aug 27, 2013 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: kids-fiction, mystery

This may be the perfect one-sitting “juvie” or YA book. It has action, mystery, strong characters (and character growth), comedy, and quirkiness. Although short when compared to other well-regarded books, it says all it needs to in 160-odd pages. As the author herself says, it needs no sequel.

I read the 35th Anniversary Edition (with afterword-foreword by the author). It’s already 11 years past that and it still holds up pretty well. (Yes, the prices are waaaay out of whack.) If you want a small...more
I never read this book as a child, I had no idea it even existed. At the urging of several GR friends I picked it up last night and spent a very enjoyable few hours. What could be more enchanting than the story of two kids who run away from home and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City? A brother and sister with bulging pockets of pennies and nickels, sleep in a 400 year old curtained bed by night, bathe in the museum’s fountain and eat in the cafeteria by day. When the mu...more
Twelve-year-old Claudia Kinkaid decides to run away from home with her little brother, Jamie. With Jamie's money and Claudia's plan, they bust out of that suburban neighborhood and run to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They always join tour groups during the day. They found out that a big group of people are trying to figure out if the statue of an angle is carved by Michelangelo. All of their time was spent in the library and wandering around the museum. They found out who sold the statue to t...more
Here's a little sample of why I enjoyed this book so much...

Claudia: But, Mrs. Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing every day. We did even at the museum.

"No," I answered, "I don't agree with that. I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you...more
I read this when I was younger (just once) and now I was motivated to pick it up again after reading Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck, which was full of allusions to this quiet little novel. As a child I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler and I love it still, but for different reasons. I remember identifying with Claudia's feelings of self importance as a child (who didn't have those feelings growing up?) and the sense of fun in running away, but now as an adult I adore the d...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A book I’d throw into the categories of “Book With Titles that are Better than the Actual Story” and “Books with Plot Summaries that are Better than the Actual Story”.

I grew impatient with this book. Why did Claudia want to run away? If it was her family that was the problem, why did she take one of her brothers along? She picked the Metropolitan Museum of Art as her refuge, but she didn’t seem to enjoy much of the art there. The whole story is written as if Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is telling...more
My end-of-2008 nostalgia continued with this, a dear childhood favorite, and it's not particularly hard to see why--isn't hiding for a week at the Met and solving a Michelangelo-centered mystery a fantasy of every artistically-minded child? (It certainly was mine.) And in hindsight I can see how much Claudia was in myself at that age, the yearning to "grow up" ASAP, the intense desire to be seen as preternaturally special--isn't it interesting how wrapped up in the pages of a book one sometimes...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
So, what exactly would be the category for lingering behind and taking up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? I'll go with criminal trespass till I learn otherwise. So - when I commit criminal trespass, should I blame Thomas Hoving, or E.L. Konigsburg? I recently finished False Impressions, and just finished From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, so I'm already making plans. Enough time has gone by since the publication of the book - 1967 - that the guards must have gotte...more
"When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort-she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because be was a miser and would have money.

Claudia was a good organizer and Jamie had some ideas, too; so the two took up residence at the museum right on schedule. But once the fun of settling
The other John
This is another runaway tale, also set in New York, but that's about all it has in common with My Side of the Mountain. This is the tale of Claudia Kincaid, a kid growing up in Connecticut. She finds suburban life to be quite unbearable, what with homework and chores and all, so she decides to run away from home. Being a child accustomed to comfort, she decides to eschew the traditional lot of a runaway such as sleeping in alleys, begging for meals, and the like. Instead she decides to run away...more
What child doesn't dream of running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

This was one of my favorite books as a child. The adventure of two kids running away to New York City and hiding in a museum was fascinating to me. In addition, they get to solve a mystery, which appealed to me even more strongly.

I agree with another reviewer who says that it was the details of the book that drew her in: packing their clothes in their instrument cases, the way they spent money, the wonder that Claudia fee...more
Jan 26, 2009 Annette rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids grades 4-5
I just got done reading this book to my son. I wasn't really sure if he would like it because he likes books with a lot of action in them, but he said that he would give it 4 stars!
This is what I liked about it: I liked the mystery surrounding the statue, the dialogue between Claudia and Jamie (Jamie totally cracked me up!), the whole idea of running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is ingenious!
There were really only two things that I didn't like about it, 1) I think that I would have li...more
Gretchen Alice
I reread this when I heard of E.L. Konigsburg's passing.
I'm immensely grateful for this book. Ten-year-old Gretchen found a spirit animal in twelve-year-old Claudia Kincaid. I was a straight arrow kid, burdened with the responsibility of being the eldest child. While I only have the one younger brother, he is smart and confident and cheap, just like Jamie. In fact, if I have any competition for biggest fan, that spot would go to Phillip in a heartbeat. When I went to the Metropolitan Museum of...more
Sometimes when I re-visit a book from childhood I'm disappointed by the poor writing, but this book was just as enjoyable as ever. As an adult I was a little appalled by the security at the Met, but I was also impressed by Claudia's grammar quibbles, I'm not sure many 6th graders now would recognize the mistakes she calls her brother out on (she would have been very annoyed by that last phrase).

The edition we read had an afterword by the author for the 35th anniversary of the book, which gave a...more
Andrea Rockel
While technically a re-read, I haven’t read it in, say, 12-ish years? I was watching Night at the Museum with some friends and realized that the movie reminded me of that great book I read as a kid about the brother and sister who ran away and slept in the Met Museum in NYC, which completely fascinated me when I was growing up, though I never had any real inclination to run away. Anyway, the book was fun to read, and brought back lots of memories of reading it for the first time - it makes me wa...more
I loved this book as a child and I love it just as much now. Amazingly, it's made me realize how little I've changed. I recall reading it and desperately wanting to meet the characters. In that respect, nothing is different. I want to sit in the office of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as much today as I did twenty years ago. This book is everything: beautifully crafted, driven by characters and plot, page-turning, fun, introspective, and sneaky in the way every child wants to be. I will be recommend...more
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For those who loved this book 29 164 Jun 04, 2014 06:16PM  
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Elaine Lobl Konigsburg was an American author and illustrator of children's books and young adult fiction. She was the only author to win the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year (1968), with her second and first books respectively: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. Kongisburg won a second Newbery...more
More about E.L. Konigsburg...
The View from Saturday Silent to the Bone The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

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“Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.” 191 likes
“I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside of you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow.” 76 likes
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