I am eternally grateful... for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on.
-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - ), Timequake, 1997

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Elementary readersUpper elementary readersMiddle school readers
7 stars

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

AR: 4.7
Lexile: 700
RC: 6.8
Written and illustrated by
E. L. Konigsburg
Normal-length Novel
Genre: Realistic Adventurous Fiction

Newberry Medal Award

Claudia and her brother, Jamie, have run away and are now hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. While there, they see a small statue that the museum just acquired. The statue might have been sculpted by Michaelangelo and now Claudia is determined to discover the truth about the statue! Their investigation leads them up and down New York and eventually to the unbelievable home of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler herself!

This is a very original, interesting mystery. It is very clever in the way it is written (from the point-of-view of Mrs. Frankweiler, who is writing it to explain to her lawyer why she is changing her will). While it doesn't have the "smash-bang" action of more modern books (and movies), it has a quiet tension in the way the kids must keep their existence in the museum secret. There is tension in the search for clues that eventually lead to the secret of the small statue. If you like mysteries, you should enjoy this book.

(Last modified:08/21/2006)

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