Book Review: “From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

Cover of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs....

“From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E. L. Konigburg

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Source: Library book sale

Summary from Amazon:

When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone for just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would live in comfort — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She invited her brother Jamie to go, too, mostly because he was a miser and would have money.

The two took up residence in the museum right on schedule. But once the fun of settling in was over, Claudia had two unexpected problems; she felt just the same, and she wanted to feel different; and she found a statue at the museum so beautiful she could not go home until she had discovered its maker, a question that baffled even the experts. The former owner of the statue was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. And without her help Claudia might never have found a way to go home.


This was a really fun book! I was a bit worried that the book might feel dated but it really wasn’t too bad. Sure, there were some aspects that reminded the reader when this took place (everything was so cheap!, the kids had to go to the library gasp to do research, etc) but I felt it added to the book. I always love when books don’t rely on technology because it forces the author to think through things a bit more. I don’t know if this story would work as well if it took place in modern times. I think the technology of today would almost ruin the story and not make the story possible/believable.

Claudia and Jamie are likeable enough. I enjoyed their sassy attitudes. I didn’t think they were too bland and boring like some characters can be in old books. (I’m generalizing about that but you get the point.)

The framing story was interesting. As I understood it, it was Mrs. Frankweiler writing a letter to her lawyer repeating the story that Claudia told her. I have a tendency  to get annoyed when there’s “another” narrator because I hate when the other narrator interjects quite a bit. The author balanced it perfectly. Mrs. Frankweiler popped in just enough to remind the reader that she’s the one telling the story.

Rating 3.5/5

Very enjoyable. I really want to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art now!

8 thoughts on “Book Review: “From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

  1. I definitely think that if they just Googled everything it’d be a totally different story. More boring, for sure! The internet, while useful, has really sucked all the mystery and fun out of researching stuff.

  2. E. L. Konigsburg was always a very hit-or-miss author for me, but this is one of the three books of hers that I absolutely love and can read over and over again as an adult. (The other two are Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth; and The View from Saturday.) I always sort of wanted to run away to a museum. In fact I sort of still do.

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