Sunday, August 23, 2009

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


Reading this book again felt similiar to reading Harriet the Spy to my kids earlier this summer. Both books are great. Both are interesting stories, told well. But this time reading, I just felt like they were old-fashioned. They felt out of date, and I noticed more of a disconnect. It's hard to put into words, but I just wonder if I was reading either of these books for the first time as a child in 2009 if they would be as enjoyable.

(By the way, if Claudia mentions putting on a "petticoat" then the girl pictured on the cover of the book should not be wearing striped tights or Sketchers like my copy.)

Some good quotes:

"She was convinced she would develop a medium-serious skin disease within five minutes after she got off the bus."

"The silence seeped from their heads to their soles and into their souls."

Claudia's explanation:
"When you hug someone, you learn something else about them. An important something else."

I do believe literature is timeless, I do. I think so much of this book is amazing. But somehow childrens' literature just seems to feel more dated to me than other books.

4 comments:

The GruCru said...

We read this for our mother-daughter book club. I liked it, but was horrified by the kid's running away, I also didn't find the 2 main characters really sympathetic-I thought they needed a good spanking.

The GruCru said...

But I loved that they ran away to the Met, so that couldn't be all bad

Amy said...

I just read this one too! I felt like you did. Some of the references were quite disconnected from current children and might have made it difficult for a child to see the point. I also wonder if that might have to do with the lack of really good museums in our neck of the woods. Maybe kids in NYC would connect better than kids here. I did enjoy it, but I am curious to ask my kids some day what they liked or didn't like about it. I remeber loving it as a child, but now, some of the suspense and mystery was gone. Hmm, I'm not sure I like this getting older thing!

Kammy T said...

Yeah, it's impossible for me to imagine that the children have run away. In real life it would be so horrible. But I think since the parents are non-existent to the story, I don't really think about that.

What I like is how they work together, and look for clues and try to learn things.

I don't think either character is that realistic, or maybe that's just part of the old fashioned part.

The part for me that was obnoxious is when Mrs Basil asks their parents if it's OK if they spend the night at her house! As if any parents would let their kids, after being missing for a week, stay the night at a stranger's house!!!