Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Remembering One of My Favorite Children's Books

Photo of Metropolitan Museum of Art - Michelangelo Buonarroti portrait by Wally G

Last week I had the pleasure of taking a 90-minute trip to Philadelphia by train. Among my reading material was my original copy of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I was saddened to read of the death of the author E. L. Konigsburg earlier in the week, and like so many readers of the book, I have terribly fond memories of reading it.
As a small child growing up in the midwest, I missed a lot of school due to illness. My bed was always strewn with piles of books courtesy of my mother and the Scholastic Book Club. What a pleasure it was for me to read about Claudia, her stingy little brother, and their adventures in New York City, and not just in New York City, but in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I always appreciated how Claudia didn’t just want to run from something, she wanted to run to something. Long before I cared about museums or knew about MetroNorth tickets, I could think of nothing more exciting than being a kid on the loose in this city.
Of course, in New York City circa 2013, immediate notification via Amber alerts, social media, and Pat Kiernan and Roger Clark would have announced that Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, of Greenwich, CT, were last seen on their school bus on their way to school. And that’s the way it should be. But for 90 wonderful minutes last week I had the benefit of running away with them, discovering the beautiful little statue, and more importantly, meeting the mysterious and possibly glamorous Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, as she traded one secret in exchange for another.
Photo of Metropolitan Museum of Art - Michelangelo Buonarroti portrait by Wally G

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