Wednesday, September 16, 2015

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler by E. L. Koigsburg...

Publish date- June 24, 2015. (Originally published in 1967)
Publisher- Pushkin Children's Classics.
RRP- $16.99

(Goodreads)

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
A brother and sister make a plan and decide to run away from home. But they can't run away without having somewhere to run to, and the obvious choice? The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where they will have many a fascinating adventure and surprising discovery.


Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Image source: Allen and Unwin.



What I thought:
This has a stunning cover. The colour. The typography. It is the type of cover that could get me really worked up over how gosh darn fantastic it is. And it also depicts the story so well. The children do look a little... oddly shaped, but it's fantastic overall! What more could one ask?

This was my first time reading this book, a classic, and as I read I got the feeling it would turn out to be an okay book. I'd like elements of it, like Claudia reasoning as to where she'd run away to, but then it also wasn't really captivating or powerful.

Oh. Let us all laugh, loudly, at my ignorance. How hopeless I was. Ridiculous, really, that I couldn't see how gosh darn joyous a read this was going to be.
The story goes along and the siblings bicker a bit and they sleep in the Met museum and become independent but also dependent on each other, and then there are these moments, out of nowehere and everywhere, that describe what Claudia is waiting for, the change she yearns to feel that'll make her different from how she was, moments where the siblings companionship, their being a team, are painted, and it's so simple and yet so utterly gorgeous. And you just hang off every other word because once you've seen that special moment you realise that they're all around and you just needed to see a bigger one to be able to realise the smaller ones.

It's got such an interesting plot, too, that follows the siblings trying to discover whether a sculpture of an angel is by Michelangelo and the mystery of their search. It weaves in and out of the story artfully and, although wasn't the main focus, was so important to carrying the story along.

Rating: Ooh, very good.
Surprising, subtle and exquisite. This was fairly gorgeous, all things being considered. AND NOT JUST ON THE EXTERIOR.

14 comments:

  1. I haven't even heard of this book before. :/

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  2. Romi,
    I highly enjoyed this book when I was younger. I loved the idea behind the story and the children's point of view. Have you seen the movie? It was brilliant!

    Happy reading,
    Jordan

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    1. I remember seeing you mention it in a couple of posts, Jordan, so I'm glad to have gotten to reading it and now knowing what it's about! I haven't seen the movie- I guess I'd be a little hesitant to, you know, since the book hit me so hard. I'll keep it in mind, though! xx

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  3. I have never heard of this one before :O But yeah, my thoughts were exactly the same about the cover. I have to admit I wasn't super intrigued by the synopsis but your review has me convinced. It seems like the magic of this one lies between the pages and in the meaning. Nice review!

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    1. Oh, really? I don't think I had, either, until I saw it in the media release, but it's apparently a rather huge American childrens classic!
      AAW, I'm so glad to hear that, Alise! I'm very proud I was able to convince you. xx

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  4. Oh wow, I haven't heard of this one before either! It's definitely a gorgeous cover - kudos to the publisher! Just from your review I can understand why this might be a powerful book for a child to read. It seems like a wonderfully told, unique story that is just perfect to appeal to a child's imagination! It's wonderful that you enjoyed it so much!

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    1. Isn't it so neat!? It pretty much hits all the possible spots that need to be hit with a good cover.
      And even for a kinda-adult! It was definitely powerful for me, perhaps more so than it would have been had I read it when I was a child. Or... perhaps just in a different way. I'd have enjoyed it, I think, but differently.
      xx

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  5. This sounds absolutely lovely. I'm also glad when older books/classics are republished. I definitely have a few to read in the future.

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    1. It was, even before I really got to that stage where everything lit up, as it were. Pushkin is doing such a fantastic job, picking up classics from around the world and publishing them here. I adore the idea and have been enjoying the stories, for sure. xx

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  6. I actually hadn't heard of this book until now but it definitely does sound like the kind of thing I would want to read. The synopsis doesn't pull me in too much but your review certainly does and I like the idea of this one showing quite a bit of character development, especially on Claudia's side while still being enjoyable and humorous.

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    1. It's fairly amazing, Olivia, which is almost an understatement. It's just... incredibly different to other things I've read. There's this feeling to it I can't even describe it.

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  7. I had no idea this was a classic. The cover is pretty stunning and it would make me also read this book. I like to read classics... I need more of them in my life honestly. I would give this one a chance!

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    1. Apparently so! I think it's supposedly one of the "great American children's classics", although I don't think it's widely read here in Australia. I'd never really heard of it until this year, I don't think.
      I hope you DO give it a chance, Angela! It's magical.

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