Somewhere buried in the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler lies the answer to a secret that has experts stumped: where did the angel come from from? Some say the marble statue was made by Renaissance phenom Michaelangelo himself. Others think the statue is a fake. The angel was sold to the museum for a measly $225.00 - but it could be worth millions. One thing for sure is the angel has captured the attention of thousands of visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City...including two runaways named Claudia and Jamie Kincaid.
"You're never satisfied, Claude. You start out just running away, and end up...wanting to be Joan of Arc, Clara Barton, and Florence Nightingown all in one." - Jamie Kincaid (p. 120)
Claudia, the oldest child of four and the only girl in the Kincaid family, desperately wants something different to happen in her life. She wants mystery. She wants excitement. She wants something besides making straight A's on her report card and taking out the trash every week. So Claudia saves up her fifty-cents a week allowance and secretly plots to run away from her ho-hum suburban life in Greenwich, Connecticut. Dragging her nine year-old penny-pinching brother, Jamie, with her, she takes the train to Grand Central Station and walks forty blocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For a whole week Claudia and Jamie stay in the museum, sleeping in a sixteenth century bed and taking baths in the restaurant fountain. Their real adventure starts when they discover a sensational mystery about the museums' newest piece - an angel statue that may or may not belong to Michaelangelo. Claudia won't stop until she finds out the truth, even if she has to spend their last dime to buy a train ticket to see to the person who sold the angel statue to the museum, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler herself.
I first read From the Mixed-Up Files by e. l. konigsburg when I was about Claudia's age. It's amazing to see how many times have changed since the book was first published in 1967. Could two runaways hide out for a week in the Metropolitan Museum in post-9/11 New York City today? I doubt it. If so, they would definitely need more than the $24.43 Claudia and Jamie spent to live on for a week! I've always liked the fact that the characters are clever, resourceful, yet act like normal brother and sister who argue about everyday things like what to eat and when to take a bath. Recommended for ages 8 and up. 162 pages.
For another great adventure about a clever brother and sister team, try Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan (see link below).