"When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort-- she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because he was a miser and would save money.
Claudia was a good organizer and Jamie had some ideas, too; so the two took up residence at the museum right on schedule. But once the fun of settling in was over, Claudia had two unexpected problems: She felt just the same, and she wanted to feel different; and she found a statue at the Museum so beautiful she could not go home until she had discovered its maker, a question that baffled the experts too.
The former owner of the statue was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Without her-- well, without her, Claudia might never have found a way to go home."
This is one of the books that I read with the fifth graders I volunteered with. The group reading this book turned into a giant group, so I'm not positive they got a lot out of the book, but if they got anything out of it, I'm happy. I just want them to get some enjoyment out of reading.
This book started out pretty slowly and I was really afraid that I would lose interest. If I lose interest, the kids in the reading group are definitely going to lose interest. But I'm really happy to say that it picked up less than a third of the way through the book.
I love that this book took place in a museum that actually exists. I found it exciting and interesting to figure out which parts of the book were taken from real life and which were fabricated and I think it helped to have these kids reading about an actual place to grab their attention. There is a map located in the book and we spent about ten minutes looking over the map and imagining going through the museum, choosing which exhibits we would seek out first (a lot of them picked Egyptian art).
This is a great book to teach. There are a lot of materials at your disposal (including a magazine from the Met that was created after a lot of kids visiting the Met asked about seeing Michelangelo's art. My fifth-graders liked the mystery surrounding it and hearing about the different exhibits.
I give give From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: