Night at the Museum

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is forever in my mind linked with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Both have a mysterious Mrs. in the title, and both were first introduced to me at the elementary school library. I can't remember if mean old Mrs. C (yes, there is such a thing as a "mean" librarian) read them out loud to us or just showed the movies—the point is that I am fairly certain I had never read The Mixed-Up Files on my own, until now.

It's about 11-year-old Claudia Kincaid, who decides to run away from home in Connecticut and bring one of her younger brothers with her. She picks 9-year-old Jamie, mostly for his stinginess—the kid hardly spends a dime of his allowance and has plenty saved up. The two head to Manhattan by train and hole up at the Met, where they hide in bathroom stalls at closing time each night and blend in with school groups during the day.

Of course, there is a mystery to solve. The museum has acquired a sculpture of an angel that may or may not be the work of Michelangelo. Can Claudia and Jaime figure it out before it's time to go home? Maybe, with the help of one Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

From the suburban ennui that drives Claudia's adventure to her need to be "different" as a result of it, Claudia is as much adolescent as she is wandering 20-something. Not only does she want to be different from how she used to be, but she wants to be different from everyone else. Claudia thinks:
When she was grown, she could stay the way she was and move to some place like India where no one dressed as she did, or she could dress like someone else ... and still live in an ordinary place like Greenwich.
Of course, New York City is the kind of place where you can do both.

This is my third post for the Shelf Discovery Challenge. Halfway there!


Julie P. said...

Loved this one as a kiddo and just re-read it as an adult for our mother daughter book club. I think it's just a fabulous book!

Jen said...

One of my all time favorite! I always wanted to try this as a kid.

Jen said...

Ugh meant to say favorites. Posting from my iPhone is still tricky. :)

Sadako said...

I loved this book! So awesome.