From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Why did I even read this book? I’m not even sure. I picked this up on one of my scavenging missions at the bookstore after hearing it mentioned on a TV show, or maybe it was in another book I was reading? If a character mentions a book in a novel I’m reading, I’m usually apt to look it up. I think this was the case with this novel. I dimly remember this book being mentioned as a character’s favourite novel when they were a kid.

The book is about two children who decide to run away and live in a New York museum. Their naivety and enthusiasm for their little adventure is quaint. The older sister has the annoying habit of correcting grammatical mistakes made by her younger brother. The younger brother seems like a 1950s stereotype of a Dennis the Menace type of boy. While living in the museum, they discover a mystery in the museum that piques their interest. This eventually leads them to meet Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The whole book is presented as Frankweiler writing a letter to her lawyer.

The language use shows its age as this was written in the 1960s. The prices of things are so low, as an adult, it’s hard to imagine that an ice cream cost only 30 cents at one time! It’s funny how casually the issue of kids disappearing is treated in the book, but I imagine that’s part of the humour and appeal of the book. This book was definitely written in a ‘simpler time’.

It seems unfair to rate a kids book when you read it as an adult. I enjoyed it as an adult, but I didn’t try to analyze it too closely. I have read it, and added it to my bookshelf as a ‘give to my daughter when she’s old enough to read it’ shelf. It seems cliche to say this because we’ve heard it so much this year with COVID and all this other garbage, but it was nice to read a wholesome, simple little story!

Rating: ★★★★

Book #115 in my 2021 Reading Challenge

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