2 Classic Award Winners

mixed up files

Konigsburg, E.L. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1967 162 pages. $15.34 ISBN-13: 978-0-689-20586-6

A sister and a brother run away to the Metropolitan Museum of art and try to solve the mystery of the artist of an angel sculpture.

Genre: Fiction

Age range: 8-13

Award:

Newbery Medal, 1968

Review:

When Claudia decides to run away, she wants to do it with adventure in mind; so plans carefully, takes her frugal brother, and rides the train to New York City to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Together she and Jamie hide carefully to avoid being caught while they spend the night in the exhibits, bathe in the fountain and learn by following tour groups around. What they find is a mystery, a new angel statue has been bought inexpensively by the museum but may be a Michelangelo. The only person with an answer is Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and her files.

I loved this book as a child and was delighted to find that it was just as enjoyable and charming as I remembered. It has the perspective of some precocious but interesting children setting out on their own in a big city, and this makes it appealing to its young audience.

 Book Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Claudia run away?
  2. Jamie accuses Claudia of running away and still being too much of an adult? Do you think that is true? Do you  think that she should not have?

Booktalking Points:

Runaways hide out in a museum for over a week, while tring to solve a mystery!

Read-alikes:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

The sixty-eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Resources:

Interview With author http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/el-konigsburg-interview-transcript

 make way for ducklings

McClosky, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings. Viking, 1969. 65 pages. $16.19 ISBN-13: 978-0-670-45149-4

A family of ducks makes a home in Boston, first in the Charles River, then through a journey to the Boston Garden.

Genre: Picture Book Fiction

Age Range: 4-8

Rating: 5 out of 5 for Quality. 5 out of 5 for Popularity.

Awards:

Caldecott Medal, 1942

Review:

This is a classic of children’s literature that has stood the test of time and remained popular for 72 years. It starts with Mr. and Mrs. Duck looking for a place to nest in Boston. After finding delicious peanuts in the pond at the Boston Garden, they almost settle down, until Mr. Duck is nearly run over by a bike. Traveling further they find a small island in the Charles River just in time to hatch their 8 ducklings. Finally, Mrs. Duck travels with the ducklings to the Boston Garden, with the help of the friendly police. The illustrations are in brown pencil, and though the images are simple, they impart lovely details and emotional content. This book still manages to entertain and delight small children and the parents who were raised on this book.

This book is just an excellent book, with beautiful illustrations and fun text that is engaging and warmhearted. I chose this book to focus on because I have loved it since I was a child, and my son loves it as well. There are plenty of medal winners that fail to stand the test of time, that get lost in the stacks and never looked back on, but Make Way for Ducklings seems to always be a book that parents will pick up for their children.

Read-alikes:

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Have You Seen My Ducklings by Nancy Tafuri

Booktalking Points:

Funny duckling names! Ducks vs. cars! Police stop traffic for duck family.

Resources:

Interview with Author from Horn Book Review http://archive.hbook.com/history/radio/mccloskey.asp

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