Saturday, January 4, 2014

December Book Review: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Our Mommy and Me Book Club came to an end today as we discussed our last book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Chloe and I were both sad to see our fun year of reading together come to a close.  I thought that was the secret reason she took FOREVER to read this book.  Not so. 
From the Mixed-Up Fiels of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is the delightful tale of Claudia and Jamie Kincaid and how they run away from home and take up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  That's all you need to know, really.  I don't want to spoil anything.  This book is a 1968 Newbery Medal Winner and is really fantastic, but a lot of the older references made it difficult for Chloe to fully comprehend the story while reading it on her own.  I had never read it before, but if I had I definitely would have read this aloud to her.  She understood the plot, but had several questions about it during our discussion today at the St. Louis Art Museum.
"Dedicated to art and free for all." 
The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the many free places to visit in the city, but we had never been there.  I was happy to be able to check something off my bucket list. 
"Love Your Mummy."
Chloe is very good to stand out in the cold while I changed the settings on my camera.  She loves her mummy.

"Little Dancers"
This sculpture or statue (Hmmm.  What's the difference between a sculpture and a statue?  Just Googled it and I still don't know.) is by Degas and contains both stone and textile elements.  Her tutu is made of muslin and the ribbon in her hair is satin. 

"Claude and Chloe"
We saw a lot of really cool art and also, too, a lot of crap.  Chloe kept saying, "Don't go in that room, Mom.  There are a lot of naked people."  I hope she meant in the art work. 

"My Museum of Art is THIS Big"
We weren't able to find a good spot in the museum where we could hide out for the week.  Maybe we could have looked harder. 

"Lake of Frozen Dreams"
I asked Chloe if she were to run away from home (Don't!), which brother would she take with her.  She said she would take Harrison because he's older and smarter.  I asked her how long she thought they would last on their own.  "A few minutes," she admitted.

"Frigid Understanding of Youth"
Art is so interesting to me.  I remember in a class in high school we had weekly debates and the first one was "What is art?"  We never did answer that question and I'm still trying to figure it out. 

"Wasted Wasteland"
The works of two photographers were on display at the museum.  One of them blew me away and the other one didn't seem like anything special at all.  Who decides which artists are good and which are not?  I would like to talk to that person.

"Girl in Snow"
Near as I can tell, photographs that are art are printed in black and white and have either overly dramatic or on-the-nose titles.  I declare the previous three pictures of this post "art." 
I once saw Judd Hirsch, Joe Morton, and George Wendt (You're too young.) in a Broadway production of the play "Art" in which one of the men buys a "painting" that is nothing more than a blank canvas.  It seems like they did a good job debating what constitutes "art" in that play, but I was too busy restraining myself from yelling, "Norm!" to pay attention.  I think I'll go back and read it.

"Not Art.  Just Mom."

After the museum, Chloe and I went out to lunch and tried to remember all the books we read last year.  (We couldn't remember "Ivy and Bean."  What does that say?)  Chloe said her top three books last year were: 1) Junie B. First Grader, Dumb Bunny, 2) Peace Love and Cupcakes, and 3) Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth
This book club was pretty much the greatest idea Santa has ever had.  I highly recommend doing it with your children.  The books were fun and gave us a lot to talk about, but just spending time one-on-one time together once a month has been great for our relationship.  I think Chloe is going to take great care of my in my old age.  That's the goal, right?

Here's a complete list of our Mommy and Me Book Club Books:
January--Peace Love and Cupcakes
February--Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth
March--Ivy and Bean
April--Juny B, First Grader: Dumb Bunny
May--Amelia Bedelia Means Business
June--Every Thing On It
July--No Flying in the House
August--Just Grace Goes Green
September--Anne of Green Gables
October--Princess Academy
November--The Doll People
December--From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

2 Wisecracks:

Sarah said...

SO fun, Melissa! I'll have to do this with Brie someday.

Patti said...

I started laughing as soon as I saw the titles on your pictures. I've been to an art museum or two with photography exhibitions. Love this book, and love your book club. I'm sorry it has to end.