From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: Special Edition

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: Special Edition

by E. L. Konigsburg

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781534436459
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 381,094
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View from Saturday. Among her other acclaimed books are Silent to the Bone, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World.

Read an Excerpt

From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


  • CLAUDIA KNEW THAT SHE COULD NEVER PULL OFF the old-fashioned kind of running away. That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back. She didn’t like discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes. Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere. To a large place, a comfortable place, an indoor place, and preferably a beautiful place. And that’s why she decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

    She planned very carefully; she saved her allowance and she chose her companion. She chose Jamie, the second youngest of her three younger brothers. He could be counted on to be quiet, and now and then he was good for a laugh. Besides, he was rich; unlike most boys his age, he had never even begun collecting baseball cards. He saved almost every penny he got.

    But Claudia waited to tell Jamie that she had decided upon him. She couldn’t count on him to be that quiet for that long. And she calculated needing that long to save her weekly allowances. It seemed senseless to run away without money. Living in the suburbs had taught her that everything costs.

    She had to save enough for train fare and a few expenses before she could tell Jamie or make final plans. In the meantime she almost forgot why she was running away. But not entirely. Claudia knew that it had to do with injustice. She was the oldest child and the only girl and was subject to a lot of injustice. Perhaps it was because she had to both empty the dishwasher and set the table on the same night while her brothers got out of everything. And, perhaps, there was another reason more clear to me than to Claudia. A reason that had to do with the sameness of each and every week. She was bored with simply being straight-A’s Claudia Kincaid. She was tired of arguing about whose turn it was to choose the Sunday night seven-thirty television show, of injustice, and of the monotony of everything.

    The fact that her allowance was so small that it took her more than three weeks of skipping hot fudge sundaes to save enough for train fare was another example of injustice. (Since you always drive to the city, Saxonberg, you probably don’t know the cost of train fare. I’ll tell you. Full fare one way costs one dollar and sixty cents. Claudia and Jamie could each travel for half of that since she was one month under twelve, and Jamie was well under twelve—being only nine.) Since she intended to return home after everyone had learned a lesson in Claudia appreciation, she had to save money for her return trip, too, which was like full fare one way. Claudia knew that hundreds of people who lived in her town worked in offices in New York City and could afford to pay full fare both ways every day. Like her father. After all, Greenwich was considered an actual suburb of New York, a commuting suburb.

    Even though Claudia knew that New York City was not far away, certainly not far enough to go considering the size and number of the injustices done to her, she knew that it was a good place to get lost. Her mother’s Mah-Jong club ladies called it the city. Most of them never ventured there; it was exhausting, and it made them nervous. When she was in the fourth grade, her class had gone on a trip to visit historical places in Manhattan. Johnathan Richter’s mother hadn’t let him go for fear he’d get separated from the group in all the jostling that goes on in New York. Mrs. Richter, who was something of a character, had said that she was certain that he would “come home lost.” And she considered the air very bad for him to breathe.

    Claudia loved the city because it was elegant; it was important; and busy. The best place in the world to hide. She studied maps and the Tourguide book of the American Automobile Association and reviewed every field trip her class had ever taken. She made a specialized geography course for herself. There were even some pamphlets about the museum around the house, which she quietly researched.

    Claudia also decided that she must get accustomed to giving up things. Learning to do without hot fudge sundaes was good practice for her. She made do with the Good Humor bars her mother always kept in their freezer. Normally, Claudia’s hot fudge expenses were forty cents per week. Before her decision to run away, deciding what to do with the ten cents left over from her allowance had been the biggest adventure she had had each week. Sometimes she didn’t even have ten cents, for she lost a nickel every time she broke one of the household rules like forgetting to make her bed in the morning. She was certain that her allowance was the smallest in her class. And most of the other sixth graders never lost part of their pay since they had full-time maids to do the chores instead of a cleaning lady only twice a week. Once after she had started saving, the drug store had a special. HOT FUDGE, 27¢, the sign in the window said. She bought one. It would postpone her running away only twenty-seven cents worth. Besides, once she made up her mind to go, she enjoyed the planning almost as much as she enjoyed spending money. Planning long and well was one of her special talents.

    Jamie, the chosen brother, didn’t even care for hot fudge sundaes although he could have bought one at least every other week. A year and a half before, Jamie had made a big purchase; he had spent his birthday money and part of his Christmas money on a transistor radio, made in Japan, purchased from Woolworth’s. Occasionally, he bought a battery for it. They would probably need the radio; that made another good reason for choosing Jamie.

    On Saturdays Claudia emptied the wastebaskets, a task she despised. There were so many of them. Everyone in her family had his own bedroom and waste-basket except her mother and father who shared both—with each other. Almost every Saturday Steve emptied his pencil sharpener into his. She knew he made his basket messy on purpose.

    One Saturday as she was carrying the basket from her parents’ room, she jiggled it a little so that the contents would sift down and not spill out as she walked. Their basket was always so full since there were two of them using it. She managed to shift a shallow layer of Kleenex, which her mother had used for blotting lipstick, and thus exposed the corner of a red ticket. Using the tips of her forefinger and thumb like a pair of forceps, she pulled at it and discovered a ten-ride pass for the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. Used train passes normally do not appear in suburban wastebaskets; they appear in the pockets of train conductors. Nine rides on a pass are marked off in little squares along the bottom edge, and they are punched one at a time as they are used; for the tenth ride the conductor collects the pass. Their cleaning lady who had come on Friday must have thought that the pass was all used up since rides one through nine were already punched. The cleaning lady never went to New York, and Claudia’s dad never kept close track of his pocket change or his train passes.

    Both she and Jamie could travel on the leftover pass since two half fares equal one whole. Now they could board the train without having to purchase tickets. They would avoid the station master and any stupid questions he might ask. What a find! From a litter of lipstick kisses, Claudia had plucked a free ride. She regarded it as an invitation. They would leave on Wednesday.

    On Monday afternoon Claudia told Jamie at the school bus stop that she wanted him to sit with her because she had something important to tell him. Usually, the four Kincaid children neither waited for each other nor walked together, except for Kevin, who was somebody’s charge each week. School had begun on the Wednesday after Labor Day. Therefore, their “fiscal week” as Claudia chose to call it began always on Wednesday. Kevin was only six and in the first grade and was made much over by everyone, especially by Mrs. Kincaid, Claudia thought. Claudia also thought that he was terribly babied and impossibly spoiled. You would think that her parents would know something about raising children by the time Kevin, their fourth, came along. But her parents hadn’t learned. She couldn’t remember being anyone’s charge when she was in the first grade. Her mother had simply met her at the bus stop every day.

    Jamie wanted to sit with his buddy, Bruce. They played cards on the bus; each day meant a continuation of the day before. (The game was nothing very complicated, Saxonberg. Nothing terribly refined. They played war, that simple game where each player puts down a card, and the higher card takes both. If the cards are the same, there is a war which involves putting down more cards; winner then takes all the war cards.) Every night when Bruce got off at his stop, he’d take his stack of cards home with him. Jamie would do the same. They always took a vow not to shuffle. At the stop before Bruce’s house, they would stop playing, wrap a rubber band around each pile, hold the stack under each other’s chin and spit on each other’s deck saying, “Thou shalt not shuffle.” Then each tapped his deck and put it in his pocket.

    Claudia found the whole procedure disgusting, so she suffered no feelings of guilt when she pulled Jamie away from his precious game. Jamie was mad, though. He was in no mood to listen to Claudia. He sat slumped in his seat with his lips pooched out and his eyebrows pulled down on top of his eyes. He looked like a miniature, clean-shaven Neanderthal man. Claudia didn’t say anything. She waited for him to cool off.

  • Customer Reviews

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    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: Special Edition 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 251 reviews.
    Kaitlyn Conroy More than 1 year ago
    This is the best book I eever read. It is a excellent mystery book. It is good for grades 3 to 7. I hope this helps.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    For those of us who are looking for a lagitament review on this book... here goes: This book is a wonderful summer read for when you just want to keep buisy. It is an easy read but still uses great vocabulary and has hidden themes. Adults and students alike will enjoy this book.
    Leslie Witterschein More than 1 year ago
    Its been one of my favorite books since i was in third grade. I am now in eighth and i still love it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love this book so diffrent and suspenseful
    Kayley Holtom More than 1 year ago
    Some people have noted that this book would not be good for a child under eleven. I just wanted to say that im thirteen and this book is still on my bookshelf. Granted, its not the ABSOLUTE best book ever written, but its defenitly one of best. I love the timelessness f it and it makes you feel like thisis a real story. So i would defenitly recremennd this book to anyone :) :3
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    U R a tru genius Konigsburg!!!!! Cant wait to read more of your books! A must read for every reader ;0)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is one of the best books i have ever read in my life!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    THIS BOOK IS AMAZING IT HAS MYSTERY AND ADVENTURE I HAD TO READ FOR SCHOOL I I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE BOOK
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I absolutley LOVE this book. It is really well written. It is appropriate for ages 9-14 probably.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Its awesome
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    So interesting!!!!!!!
    Susan_in_AZ More than 1 year ago
    Okay, a thirteen-year-old who has been forced to read this book will not like it. That's a given. I read this many moons ago when I was eleven and loved it. Still remember it clearly, even. Once one is a Grandmother who clearly remembers a book so many years later... well, you get my drift. Luckily, the lack of personal technology is what makes this story so great. If your kid is totally tuned into his or her devices, she/he may not appreciate what it means to be a runaway with little money and no technology. If the child is curious about such an existence, then it may work. Nevertheless, this is terrific literature wrapped up in a compelling plot.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Read this book in third grade and now in sixth grade i still love i it . .! Its amazing . .!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is one of the best books i have ever read
    Pamela Stasolla More than 1 year ago
    Read this book for accelerated reading and thought it was awesome.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read this in about third grade and I still can remeber so many details, I recommend this book for all ages and I'm hoping you decide to read it. It has many great plot twists and it keeps you on your toes 24/7. I personally made so many connections with this book and I'm about to read it again, maybe it will be even better the second time!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Did this really happen? This is so exiting and intresting! I've read it at least 4 times and I'm not even tierd of it!! So cool! Love it! Out of this world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read that book when i was 6. I understood all of it
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I thought this book was great my mom & i read it in bed every night.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is the best book ever!! I dont my language arts teacher likes this type of genre/style of books but she read it and she said that she loves and recommends it to a lot of people.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Me and my 5th grade class read this book we loved it! Cannot wait to see the movie
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Gret book
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It is sooooo good and i am only 11, my honors teacher had us read it, im glad she did
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I got an a and i love the story of xaldia
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Read in 5th grade, age 35 now and reading it with my 5th grader. I love this book, it is still amazing, the tale of Claudia and Jamie on their adventure in NYC. This book takes me back to my elementary school days and just has such good memories for me. I want my child to enjoy the mystery and adventure as much as I did. Wonderful read, a real classic, worthy of readers of all ages!