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‘From the Mixed-Up Files
of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’

[NOV. 6, 2002]  "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler," by E.L. Konigsburg. Atheneum, 1968, 162 pages.

Review by Linda Harmon

This year is the 35th anniversary of the Newbery Award-winning children’s novel "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." Katie Couric of the "Today Show" recently interviewed the author, Elaine Konigsburg, about the book. Katie told her that it is her favorite book from childhood. They discussed the timeless nature of the book and how the main message is as important today as it was 35 years ago. This interview intrigued me so much that I had to read the book. It is now one of my favorites.


It is the story of Claudia Kincaid and her brother Jamie, the second youngest of her three brothers. Claudia is feeling very unappreciated at home and, as we discover later in the story, wants to feel differently about herself.

She devises a very well-thought-out plan, right down to the smallest detail. She doesn’t want to go alone, and so she chooses Jamie because of his ability to handle and save money, which is very important for being comfortable while you are running away. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has everything she is looking for in a place to run to; it is a large, comfortable, beautiful, indoor place.

Among the many injustices that she feels are imposed upon her, emptying the wastebaskets is the one she despises the most. Yet, while emptying the wastebaskets one Saturday, she discovers a 10-ride pass with one pass remaining for the train that goes to New York. She and Jamie can travel for a half fare each, making one pass just what they need to get them to the museum.

The day finally arrives, and after leaving a letter for their parents telling them not to worry, their adventure begins.


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After arriving safely at the museum, the two hide their personal belongings, which Claudia is carrying in violin case and Jamie in a trumpet case because those are less conspicuous than luggage. They each carry a book bag as well. The guard at the museum doesn’t think it’s unusual for two children with book bags and instrument cases to visit the museum in the middle of the day because about a thousand school children visit daily.

The plan is to check their bags, check out their new surroundings, find a bed, check out of the museum at 4:30 and re-enter in the back at the entrance to the Children’s Museum. When they hear the bell ring they know the library will be closing in five minutes. That is the signal for them to go to their respective restrooms, standing on the toilet seat with the door slightly open, and wait until about 5:30 or until they are sure all of the staff has left.

This is their planned daily routine until Claudia and Jamie discover a mysterious statue of an angel. Claudia loves the statue the minute she sees it and becomes obsessed with discovering who the artist is that created it. This is the beginning of a very interesting mystery.

Before their adventure is over, Claudia also learns a valuable lesson about herself.

This book is recommended for ages 9 to 12. For more information about this book, please visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-5732.

[Linda Harmon, Lincoln Public Library District]

‘The Young Draftee’

[NOV. 2, 2002]  "The Young Draftee," by Monte Howell., 2002. 160 pages. Nonfiction, historical.

There have been many books written about World War II; however, few describe the frightful experiences of the inexperienced teenage combatants. "The Young Draftee" is an intimate accounting of what it was like to be a teenage draftee just out of high school and sent to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese.

Induced by the discovery of a box of approximately a hundred old, faded wartime photographs, author Monte Howell decided to put down on paper his personal experiences of the horrors of war. However, as he states, the war he encountered was "beyond being called a brutal, savage war or some other words which can explain what these men went through."

"The terrain, climate and disease those men had to fight besides the enemy was unbearable. The war in the South Pacific was a war without mercy."

The unknown was always the frightening component of the war. From basic training to the actual deployment in the theatre of action, we are apprised of the awful fear that was always prevalent. Never knowing where you would be stationed. What to expect once you arrived at your destination? Who would die and would survive? These queries were always foremost in the minds of the soldier.

Howell does not hold back in his disdain for Gen. Douglas McArthur, whom he described as old, vain and egotistical. In fact he even recounts an incident where McArthur and his staff delayed the evacuation of some seriously wounded men in order that the general could have his picture taken while performing an inspection at the front lines. Unfortunately, with this four-hour delay, two of the wounded men had died while lying in the hot sun. The author goes on to say that McArthur had made some very bad decisions which caused the death of many Americans; however, he never shared the blame for these tragedies.


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This is the kind of a story that is omitted from our history books, and it is only when we read first-person accounts of the war that we can truly appreciate the suffering of the soldiers. For many of us who are unfamiliar with the war in Japan, this book will serve as an excellent introduction, devoid of the dry scholarly texts that perhaps we read as students in high school or college. The author’s penetrating personal perceptions of the war only confirm to us that war is about people, and we never seem to learn that no one wins.

[Norman Goldman,]

Monte Howell’s new book, "The Young Draftee," has received outstanding reviews which are now appearing on the following websites:

Lincoln Community Theatre elects officers

[OCT. 22, 2002]  The 2002 annual meeting of the board of directors of Lincoln Community Theatre resulted in the re-election of three board members and the addition of two new directors, Tom McLaughlin and Margo Schwab, both of Lincoln. Returning to serve another three-year term are Teri Fink, Louella Moreland and Roger Boss, all of Lincoln.

Officers elected for next year are Teri Fink, president; Jean Gossett, vice president; Roger Boss, secretary; and Rich Reinwald, treasurer.

[Judy Rader, LCT publicity chairman]

Lincoln Community Theatre information

Lincoln Community Theatre’s box office, phone 735-2614,  is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the summer season. The office is located in the lobby of the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lincoln College.

Performances of "Dearly Departed" are scheduled for July 12-20, and "The King and I" will be presented Aug. 2-10. Show times are 2 p.m. on Sundays and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656; e-mail:

Visit the LDC website at Pictures from past productions are included.

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