Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Middle-grade love: THE MIXED-UP FILES review

It's so fun reading middle grade and children's books. I especially love reading older classics that feel so different from today's books. Oh, I love modern kid's books, don't get me wrong. Books from previous decades supplement my biblio-diet with long-term carbohydrates, like potatoes and rice. It's a warm, comforting experience. That's how I felt reading FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER with my son.

Two kids, a sister and a brother, escape a perfectly normal home to live in a museum. Now that's high concept! Even better, they uncover a secret about a recently acquired statue's origins and worth. But the real gems in this story are the moments when Claudia and James uncover secrets about themselves: why they do the things they do, and what they really want to become. Basically, it's an honest book about secrets. The brother-sister relationship feels authentic, with Claudia's taste for the dramatic and glamorous and Jamie's perfect timing for ruining the mood with pragmatism. Readers will love them, even if they do talk funny by today's standards. Now I know why the top middle-grade book blog took on the title From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors! A book this delightful and deep deserves such a tribute.

Yes, I should have read this book as a child. Yes, I'm somewhat ashamed of my lack of culture. And yes, I will be reading more of these missed jewels in the future. (Recommendations?)

But next up on our nap time reading list is something much more recent: the second book in THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY series. I can't wait to find out what happens to these four remarkable children on their next adventure.

Also on my nightstand: MISTWOOD by Leah Cypess, THE CLEARING by Anne Riley, and MY JANE AUSTEN SUMMER by Cindy Jones

What are you reading today?


  1. I LOVED that book~ I remember them scooping change from the museum fountain for pocket money :) Thanks for the trip down memory lane! And I just got the first Mysterious Benedict Society book~ so excited to read it.

  2. Great review, I loved this as a kid and this makes me want to read it all over again :D !

  3. I've been trying to read more middle grade, too, since my son's 10 and I'm trying my hand at an MG WIP. But I missed this one, too, if it makes you feel better! Will need to check it out!


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