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

Atheneum, 1967; Awarded 1970.

Synopsis:  Feeling unappreciated by her family and bored with her suburban Connecticut life, twelve-year-old Clauda makes careful plans to run away from home.  She enlists the help of her nine-year-old brother, Jamie, who is known for his ability to save money, and the two run away to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.  They explore the museum and come across the beautiful and intriguing Angel statue. Claudia decides to solve the mystery of the statue's creator and feels that she can not return home until she finds out the truth about the statue.  With the help of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the former owner of the statue, Claudia and Jamie finally solve the mystery of Angel's creation and Claudia is able to go home to her family feeling happy and satisfied.

Themes:  Runaways, Sibling relationships, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Italian Renaissance Art

Author information:  Something About the Author, Volume 94, 1998

Discussion questions:  Standard 3, Benchmark 3
1. Clauda has several reasons for running away.  What are they?  Do you think that they were good reasons?  Why or why not?  How do you think Claudia and Jamie's parents felt about them running away?
2. Why was the Metropolitan Museum of Art a good choice for a hiding place for Claudia and Jamie?
3. Claudia wanted to solve the mystery of Angel's creator because it would make her "different."  She felt that she couldn't go home unless she went home changed in some way.  Do you agree with Clauda that there was no sense in going home unless she had changed?

Activities:
1. If you were planning an adventure like Claudia and Jamie, where would you go?  Make up your own survival plan.  Be sure to answer the following questions:  Where would you go? How would you get there?  What supplies or equipment would you need to take with you?  Who would you take along?  How would you pay for your adventure?  Standard 3, Benchmark 2
2. Use clay to create a statue like Claudia and Jamie might have found in the museum.  Standard 5, Benchmark 3
3. Pretend that you are Claudia or Jamie.  From your character's point of view, write a journal entry for one day of your stay in the museum.  Be sure to include your feelings and details from your day.  Standard 3, Benchmark 2