February 2012 Book Reviews, Part 1

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
from Miss Sheri at Plymouth and Crestview Branches

metropolitan museum of art with attribution

If you could run away to any place in the world, where would you go?

In the book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, Claudia Kincaid decides that her ideal place is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Feeling under-appreciated by her parents, she wants to run away long enough to teach them a lesson in “Claudia Appreciation”.  She chooses her brother, Jamie, to accompany her on the greatest adventure of their lives.

While at the museum, Claudia falls in love with a statue she decides to call “Angel”.  She and Jamie become captivated by a mystery surrounding the statue.  Bought at an auction for $225, this statue is rumored to be a lost work by Michelangelo himself.  Was this beautiful, mesmerizing statue really carved by the famous Michelangelo?  Claudia is determined to find out the answer.

After trying to discover the answer on their own, Claudia and Jamie decide that the only person whom they can ask is Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the original owner of Angel.  But, to Claudia, that means leaving the museum and returning home without being different.  Will Claudia and Jamie choose to give up their freedom and go home in return for finding the answer to Angel’s past?

This book, written 45 years ago, combines elements of mystery and art, both of which are subjects I adore; therefore, this book was destined to become one of my favorites!  I know the answer to Claudia’s question; did Michelangelo really carve the statue of the angel?  Even knowing this crucial piece of information, it has never dampened the excitement of reading this book many times over.  As a person who loves art and art history, I appreciate Claudia’s choice of location and even envy the opportunity she created for herself and Jamie.

A museum is a wonderful place to lose oneself and travel back in time, even if it is only during the hours it is open to the public.  Discovering and studying a piece of beautiful artwork is unlike any other experience.  Each and every person brings with them their own views and past experiences which color a person’s perceptions.  Therefore no two people can connect to a piece of art and take away the same meaning.  It helps the viewer become different.

For Claudia, discovering Angel and finding out the secret of whether or not Michelangelo carved her is Claudia’s way of becoming different.  Read this award winning book and maybe you will become different too!  Recommended for readers ages 9 and up.

Find From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in our catalog (this book is also available as an audio recording and as a movie by the same name)!


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