Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Couple Nights At The Museum

Letting my brain have a little break from the holidays, I picked up a book I have had on my shelf FOREVER.  The book is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg a Middle Grade book that has been on my radar for a really really long time.  I am very glad I finally got the opportunity to read it and I will tell all about it, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Claudia Kincade is feeling under appreciated and stuck so she decides to run away...well not run away so much as run to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Knowing that it will take a lot of money to live in a museum in NYC,  Claudia recruits her little brother Jamie, who is famous for his ability to save money.  The two take their time planning their trip and when they think they have thought of everything, hop on a train.  As soon as they get there, Jamie starts fretting about money and Claudia appoints him treasurer with the final say so about all their purchases.  The two kids go to the museum (when this book was written it was still free to go in) and plan on how to stay after closing.  Their plan works and the two kids end up spending the night a bed that had been carved in the 16th century.  The children spend a couple days and nights in the museum, skulking around, reading everything and carefully eating to conserve their funds.  One day they come across a statue only called Angel and Claudia is instantly enamored.  They read an article about the popularity of the statue and the mystery that surrounds it.  It seems that the statue was bought at an auction for the unheard of low price of 225 from the eccentric Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  The mystery concerns the artist of the sculpture, it is rumored to be the great Michelangelo, but there is no hard proof.  Claudia decides that they cannot go home until they have uncovered the mystery.  After much studying, library time and frustration the children finally decide that only Mrs. Frankweiler will have the answers and go to visit her.  She gets the children to tell her their story in return for letting them find the proof of Michelangelo's artistry of the Angel.  Claudia, though forbidden from sharing the secret, finally feels as if she is ready to go home.  The children head home, and all is well.
This was a fun, quick little read that hit most of my sweet spots.  The biggest issue with it...well really the only real issue with it, is that it comes across as a bit dated as the events in the book could never ever happen now...but that aside it was pretty awesome.  Right of the bat I identified with Claudia and her yearning to be more, to experience something different, to be extraordinary...but still being to good of a girl to act out to, or be weird to get it.  I also understand her enjoyment of planning things, almost more then the actual experience she is planning.  Both of these sensations were ones I had a lot when I was her age, and it was nice to connect with her so quickly.  Since I am a bit obsessed with NYC lately, and having just visited many of the places in the book, a few months ago, I was pretty happy to read about them.  I want to meet Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and go through her files and read all about what seem to be her numerous adventures.  I want to live in a museum and have all the time in the world to read up on EVERYTHING in the museum and not worry about moving out of peoples way.  Mostly this book was awesome because it made me want to go do things.  It got me excited about a lot of stuff and that is always a good thing in a book.   Like I said it was a pretty quick, straight forward book.  I would recommend it to anybody who has every wanted to run away, live in a museum, or just looking for a nice quick read.  I give it 8 out of ten old paintings of dogs.  Happy Reading Everybody!
How did I not read this book growing up?  If you could "live" anywhere for a week or two where would it be? Who would you choose to come with you (I would pick my Mamma...which completely void the whole point of running away)?

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