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




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

E. L. Konigsburg 4th to 5th grade




Summary of the story :

Plot Summary:

Claudia feels unappreciated at home, so she decides to run away.  She chooses to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art because it is beautiful and comfortable.  She takes her younger brother Jamie with her because he has a lot of money saved up and he doesn’t talk very much.  Claudia and Jamie hide in the museum bathroom after closing time, bathe in the fountain, and sleep in the antique beds.  They settle in to their new lifestyle, joining the museum tours.  They become fascinated by a new addition to the museum – a statue of an angel believed to be the work of Michealangelo.  Claudia becomes determined to verify the statue’s origin. She researches the statue and the M mark on its bottom.  She and her brother use the rest of their money to travel to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’s home, the statue’s donor.  Mrs. Frankweiler allows Claudia to search her files for to uncover the mystery of the statue, and once Claudia’s curiosity is satisfied, Mrs. Frankweiler sends the two children home.


Major Characters

  • Claudia Kincaid, 11-year-old straight-A student

  • Jamie Kincaid, Claudia’s younger brother

  • Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, eccentric 82-year-old

 Setting:  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City






Possible Design Challenges:
  • For the two children to communicate while in the bathrooms
  • A way to keep track of their finances
  • A way to see in the early evening while getting ready to go to bed
  • How to carry and store their money
  • Developing a plan to obtain food
  • Developing a file system for Mrs. Frankweiler
Lots of opportunities for adding math into the design challenges
  Prepared by  Bill Wolfson.  Copyright © 2011
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