Although I try to focus on recent Children’s and YA literature, I do slip the occasional classic into my reading mix. I self consciously admit that there are many classics that I have not opened. I wish that I was one of those Children’s Librarians who can truthfully claim that they have powered through all of the books of OZ and spent time with Anne of Green Gables, but I am not one of them. I hope to be one day though!
Concerning From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, this book grew on me. I confess that I was halfway through and wondering why it won a Newberry and why it continued to remain popular, but by the end, Konigsburg had won me over.
The plot involves two children, Claudia and Jaimie Kincaid, who run away from home and spend a week in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. They bathe in the museum fountain, eat at the snackbar and sleep in a 15th century bed at night. After a couple of days of tagging along with school groups, they become captivated by the museum’s recent addition of a small angel sculpture that could possibly have been carved by Michelangelo. Claudia becomes intent on returning home only after they solve the mystery of whether it truly was sculpted by the Renaissance master.
I enjoyed the sense of low key adventure as the children runaway and hide in the MOMA. Who hasn’t ever wondered what happens in museums or other public places when the crowds leave? I also appreciated the children’s powerful curiosity as they become determined to learn everything that they can about the Italian Renaissance. Claudia and Jamie remind us that we do not have to travel far to find excitement and wonder.