These Books Made Me

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

May 19, 2022 Prince George's County Memorial Library System Season 2 Episode 7
These Books Made Me
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Show Notes Transcript

E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has endured on library shelves as many older Newbery books often do. In this episode we talk about whether the 1967 mystery cum adventure story still earns that spot on the shelf. We discuss Claudia Kincaid as a role model and possible queer feminist icon and also have a lot of feelings about the Met's admission policies. We look at epistolary writing style, parentless child tropes, and discuss whether inflation and technology have ruined madcap children's adventures. We also consult an expert who has served on the Newbery Award committee and Audrey and Kelsey fight over a Face Vase.

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at https://pgcmls.medium.com/.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode and used some books and articles as jumping off points. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research:

The Met's not free anymore: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/arts/design/met-museum-admissions.html
Great garage sale finds: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/618643/amazing-yard-sale-finds
What happened to automats?: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/automat-history

Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm Kelsey

Speaker 2:

I'm Heather.

Speaker 1:

And this is our podcast. These books made me today. We're going to be talking about from the mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E Frank Weiler by El Koberg friendly warning is always, this podcast contains spoilers. If you don't yet know what kind of beer might have crushed up the velvet underneath the statue, proceed with caution. We have a special guest this week. Could you introduce yourself?

Speaker 3:

Hi, I'm Audrey Mayner come find me at the newly reopened highsville branch. Woohoo. I wanted to find out from everybody what this book means to you was this everyone's first time reading the book. If not, how did this reread compare to your memories of reading it when you were younger? And I can really start off by saying that Mrs. Kay . Read this allowed to us in fifth grade, it had only been published a few years before that. And before now I had only reread a portion from this story. I got excited about the idea of going behind the velvet ropes at a museum and breaking some rules, but not behaving too irresponsibly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I read this book when I was a kid as well. I think I was probably like third or maybe fourth grade. I don't remember exactly. One of the things I do remember though, was we had this thing called accelerated reader at our school and you'd go on the computer. And you would say, I read this book and then you would have to take a little quiz about the book and you get points . Oh yeah . And then you could go buy something at school store . That was what we got. I was always like, I bought a pencil. I bought a candy, but I read it for accelerated reader because it , it got good points back then for like my grade and what level it thought it was. So that was the first time I read it and I loved it when I read it as a kid. And then I think I read it. I loved my reread this time around too. I had forgotten like how quality the writing is in it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it's really well done.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. This was one of my favorite books as a kid. One of the ones that I reread over and over and over again, I haven't read it in a long, long, long time. And it was interesting because the thing I remember most as a kid is like getting this like really like haunted, like magical vibe from the museum. And just this idea of like being stuck in the museum. Like the setting really stuck with me as a kid, as an adult, I really felt drawn to Claudia as a character and like how <laugh> like kind of obnoxious, but in the best possible way she is. I obviously, I think I connected with Claudia as a kid, but I don't think that how precocious she was really stood out to me the way it did kind of reading back. So yeah, I, I love this reread and I'm, I'm really excited to talk about it today.

Speaker 2:

The same. Let's talk a little bit about the plot first, just to refresh it for everyone. 12 year old , Claudia Kincaid feels bored, unappreciated, and a true sense of righteous indignation at the injustice of it. All she decides to strike out on a grand adventure and chooses her younger brother, Jamie , as her partner in crime, they run away and take up secret residents at the metropolitan museum of art. Claudia is entranced by a statue of an angel that may or may not have been sculpted by Michael Angelo, that the met has purchased from a reclusive donor for the low, low price of $225 . The siblings immediately decide that they have to solve the mystery of the statue's origins, conducting their own research in the museum and in the library, their detective work eventually leads them to the door of the statue's reclusive former owner, Mrs. Basil E Frank weer, a wealthy widow with her own secrets and the narrator of our story, Mrs. Basil E Frank weer finds kindred spirits in the two precocious children and eventually trades Claudia. The secret of angel for the details of the children's week at the met the children also find a kinship with Mrs. Baley , Frank Weiler, and becomes surrogate grandchildren to her fulfilling her impossible wish to experience maternal love.

Speaker 1:

And now for a little background on the author. So Elaine Lobel or E L Koberg the only author to ever won a Newberry medal and an honorable mention in the same year. And one of only six people to earn two Newberry medals was born in New York city in 1930, her parents, two Jewish immigrants moved the family to Pennsylvania soon after her birth. And she went on to graduate from what is now Carnegie Mellon university with a degree in chemistry. She began, but never finished a graduate degree in the field, leaving the program. When her husband David Koberg earned his doctor of psychology and moved the family to Florida. She taught science at a girl's school until the birth of her first child in 1955. After the second child, she picked up painting at an adult education school. And after the third, when the family moved to Portchester New York, she took up writing according to publishers weekly, she chose to go by El partially to obscure her gender and partially in homage to the author, EB white from the mix up files of Mrs. Basil Frank Weiler. Her second novel won the Newberry in 1968, the same year, her first novel, Jennifer HACA McBeth, William McKinley. And me Elizabeth was an honorable mention 29 years later in 1996, her novel, the view from Saturday won another Newberry in between the two books. She wrote more than a dozen others known for their wit outlandish yet relatable scenarios, usually 12 year old protagonist and intellectual heft uncharacteristic of many other children's books of the time. She died in 2013 of complications from a stroke in her obituary. The New York times referred to her as an unabashed information pusher, which is absolutely how I too would want to be remembered explaining her chosen genre. They quote her as saying children's books are the key to the accumulated wisdom, wit gossip, truth, myth, history, philosophy, and recipes for salting potatoes during the past 6,000 years of civilization.

Speaker 2:

All right , so let's dive in. How did this book hold up?

Speaker 1:

I mean, I think the biggest thing we always think about is like, well, there's two big things, obviously stereotypes. I didn't see a lot of that in here, but like dated things. So this book came out in 1967 and for me, the biggest thing I was marveling over is how cheap everything was. I was like, you can get to the city from Connecticut for a dollar. You can get lunch at the met for a dollar 25. You know, that was pretty exciting. <laugh> and sad considering how <laugh> , what we're dealing with inflation right now. I think that stands out to me a little bit as something that comes across a little dated now

Speaker 3:

And the , the automa, one of the places where they go, which I always thought was the neatest thing. And I think they were already on their way out by the 1970s when we were in, what is an

Speaker 1:

Automa

Speaker 3:

Where you put your money in and a drawer sort of opens and you take your piece of pie out and

Speaker 2:

It's like a vending machine for real food. But

Speaker 3:

So they sort of ,

Speaker 2:

I think we should call our vending cafes AMAs and just see if it catches on

Speaker 3:

<laugh> . And I guess what they did is they had , they filled them from the other side and then you would, would get them out. But I remember, I think, I don't know if our class did, but we were , a lot of us were sort of fascinated and wanted to go see one of the last of the AMAs. And I think they made the news when they finally went out of business. That kind of thing. So, well that sounds ,

Speaker 2:

I think also we were talking about how prices tend to date things in some ways, but that being said, I don't think that the book is particularly dated. Okay, you get that, like, things were cheaper then , but there's enough context with the money. She really digs into how much various things cost. So you have a sense of the economy of the time. So I think it's not all that off putting and the rest of it. It's taking place in the met, which is full of all sorts of objects from antiquity and different time periods and is kind of timeless in its own way because the Mets still just the met the one thing that I felt like I kind of cringed about, and this is not like a bad thing. It was more of a like, oh , the met <laugh> , the met was free, right? And so there's, there's a whole section in the book where she talks about how everyone can go to the met. You get people from Kansas, you get people from just walking in off the street, you get people from France. And the met in our lifetimes has started requesting a donation. Yep . When you visit. And that was very, I don't know, controversial at the time when they rolled that out, because it had been such a bastion of you too , can come to this place and see these great things from the great civilizations of the world. And you can experience these things. And it was supposed to be like a leveler of sorts. And now that they've kind of swung to the like, well, you don't technically have to pay, but we strongly suggest you pay something to come in here has really changed the tone of the map . You

Speaker 1:

Have to go up to the counter and like actively be like, no, I am choosing not to give you money. Thank you. You can't just like walk in.

Speaker 2:

Right. Which like if a child of this age now has gone to the met recently, they would have a very different experience. I guess like the Smithsonians though are kind of similar now. Like you really can just walk in if you're a kid there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I was thinking like that. That's that's the experience at all the museums in DC, pretty much

Speaker 3:

In the Washington DC area, a few exceptions, at least the federally run museums are free where in other states and other countries, people are accustomed to pay. Right ? So the , this quasi donation, halfway measure, some other people were like, well, this is about what I would expect to pay somewhere and be fine with it. But yes, anytime something had been free and , and part of the point was that everybody could experience it, no matter what their income level is, it does make a big difference. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I , I did like that. The public library is still very much as it is. Yes . In the book the kids go there, they get a librarian to help them locate resources for their quest to figure out who the , the sculptor of the statue is. You could still do that today. There would be nothing weird about that at all. For two kids of that age to go unaccompanied to a library and ask a librarian for help. So, yeah , I think that's cool.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna say, I think your point about the cost being really well explained and like put in context is a really good one, cuz I think that is the difference between it being an old book that you still connect with and a book that feels dated in a way that's not accessible. There were two things that I feel like <laugh> one, one is the public typewriter that's in front of the building that very obviously was like, this is an old book, but also when they're getting changed after she, they spend their first night in the really fancy 16 hundreds bed, she puts on a petty coat, which I didn't know was a thing in the sixties. And I was really confused.

Speaker 3:

Kind of like a slip you might wear under right dress to make it .

Speaker 2:

I think pet coats have remained a thing for like nice dresses.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. But I wouldn't call , I would call it a slip and I would think back then, that's what they would call it too. But I , I mean, I guess apparently not

Speaker 2:

A petty coat tends to have some volume to it and it makes your skirt lie a certain way, like to go to

Speaker 3:

Church and it might sort of be fluffy. So then it made your skirt out a little bit,

Speaker 2:

But we also call them Lins too. I don't know if you call it that petty coat to me is very, like, that's more like petty coat juncture . Like it's got like a very different like vibe to it or something, but like Lins , but it's the same idea. Like

Speaker 1:

I think I just like automatically associate the word petty coat with the 18 hundreds. <laugh> clearly that's an incorrect and

Speaker 3:

Girls , uh , series would have had,

Speaker 1:

That's probably why petty

Speaker 3:

Thing .

Speaker 2:

Yeah . But yeah, I think now they're a lot more anachronistic than they would've been at the time. Cuz like certainly for fancy dress. I don't know. Did you wear church dresses that you had a pet coat in it or like attached?

Speaker 3:

It seemed like, and I , we probably did call in like a slip or a half slip that we referred to, but definitely was something under it so that it was sort of lay right . Not necessarily out, but, but lay right .

Speaker 1:

I need that now.

Speaker 3:

And I , I agree with you about something about the money because I kept going back and forth and Jamie was the keeper of the money. It was more like working out what things cost , which you still might do today. Even if your budget was a hundred or 200, right . You're like I have this amount I can spend for lunch and , and we have to take the bus so I can't get a slice of pie. So that was all sort of in the context of what they were trying to do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Fountains are a less good source of income now because of inflation. Unless we bring back like dollar coins, like everyone starts carrying 'em fountains are not a good source of revenue, sustainable revenue. <laugh> those Bennys , aren't buying you much. Let's talk a little bit about why this book resonated for us as readers and whether we think it would still resonate today. I have to say for me it felt very fresh. Like reading it as an adult, it felt very fresh. Um , I think the opening chapter is one of the like great descriptions of on weed that I've ever read. You feel it in your bones. Yes. It is a very like privileged white girl version of on Wei that Claudia has with all of her perceived injustice. But everyone's felt that before that, like there's gotta be something more than this yep . Feeling. And I think especially like when you're a girl and you're having all of these sort of societal expectations that are very gendered put on you, she really ranks it. Why do I have to do the chores and my brothers don't why do I have to be the one that's like responsible? And my brothers don't yeah . You feel that and, and you get irritated by it it's says she was bored with simply being straight A's Claudia Kincaid. That feeling is so relevant for maybe any person, but for girls that are achievers. Yeah. Every precocious girl has felt that, that you've been distilled down into you're a smart girl and that it's this little box you've been put into. And you're like, but there has to be more than this because my life is not exciting. I'm doing all these right things, but there's no excitement. I'm bored. And I hate this.

Speaker 1:

We're just arguing over who picks the TV on, on the seven 30 channel every day . Yeah. Nothing

Speaker 3:

Else breaking out of a routine. That's been set up, whether you helped to set that up because you achieved all of these other things. But then where are the things that are sort of sideways things that are not, that, that are different, you might be afraid to tackle something that you would fail at, but what else, what other things are there that you could experience? Well

Speaker 2:

And what satisfaction are you getting from your achievements? Because at this age, okay, the A's are easy. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so, you know, there's something more and she's a reader, right? Like she's described as just reading everything, which also like totally resonated for me. Yeah . Like I read everything. If it had words, I read it, it was the Merck manual. It was the DSM that my dad hacked as he was a psychologist. It was shampoo bottles. <laugh> exactly like I read anything with words on it. Yeah . And Claudia's much the same. She's in with the like AAA travel guides and maps and stuff. And she's, she's dreaming about these things. She's internalized all of these like female greats. Uh , I think Jamie at one point says, you're trying to be Joan of arc and Florence knighting gown instead of knighting gown . But like the points well taken she's, she's living in her head a lot. Right. She's comparing her life to all of these things that she's read. And these people who are doing great things and exciting things and big things. And she's like, this can't be all there is, it's just me here going to school, doing this routine, arguing with my family and yeah,

Speaker 1:

Yeah. A hundred percent. I was the oldest girl in my family. I definitely think I resonated with all the, like the injustice of all the responsibilities and the pressure put on me and the, you know, I'm achieving. But to what end, I think absolutely all those things. I also think that Yale Koberg does a really good job capturing like the drama of the 12 year old mind. Like even just the harping on the word, like the injustice of it all like as a kid, you're like, yeah, things are unjust. This is not fair as an adult you're reading. And you're like, this is hilarious. Like <laugh>, you can see like the, how she's kind of like lovingly making fun of her in a way. Right,

Speaker 2:

Right. She's upset about, they only have a cleaning lady twice a week and her friends have like, live-in housekeepers that's catastrophic to her.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . But it would be unknown to her, the idea that nobody had any help right . In , in her group or her bubble where certainly plenty of people, parents were the help and went out and did that for somebody and all the kids had to pitch in and do all the kinds of things. But since it was alien to her experience, she just didn't pay attention to it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah . When I was doing research for her bio, one of the articles said that like El Koberg said that she said that she came up with the idea for the story, because she had a indoor picnic at the house with her kids and they were like very unimpressed and unenthused. And she said like, basically their standards were so high. The only place they could ever run away to was the met gallery because their , their expectations and their standard of living was too high. They were like too good for too rich for the blood of a picnic.

Speaker 2:

<laugh> I mean, she has no real struggle here. Yeah . The struggle is boredom. The struggle is expectations. It's not any kind of, we don't have the drama that we've seen in some of our other books where like, food is tight because money is tight or they're experiencing racism or they're experiencing being in a new country and not knowing the language. There's no struggle on that level, but she feels like she's in the struggle, you know, like the struggles as real as

Speaker 3:

Experience it , I guess, who , what do I wanna be? What does the future hold? I , I can't tell.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's an existential crisis on some level, right? The point is taken that she has definitely a bubble she's very sheltered, but at the same time, she has some self-awareness of that because there's that great line about, like she says, like living in the suburbs had taught her that everything has a cost. Yes. <laugh> . Which I think is also like one of the great descriptors of suburbs ever there's times where she kind of bursts into tears cuz she gets overwhelmed and she's aware that she's, oh gosh, I've kind of overreacting to this. But like the feeling is still there. The feeling is very real for her, which I think is really, again, relatable at that age. Like everything does feel so heightened and so intense. And like your hormones are not, everything feels heavy. Yeah. So like yes, as an adult, I think you look at it and it's like, wow, she doesn't really have all that much to deal with. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that's kind of funny, but at the same time, I think it's a really true depiction of how you feel as a tween. Yeah. Especially a tween oldest daughter.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And I , I think the other thing that connects is just like the fun of having a conspiracy, the plotting, like I love the idea of like, and I'm sure as a kid connected with the idea of like, it's just really fun to plan something and like do the research and have all your pieces in a row. And then when she's like, she gets Jamie to like sit with her on the bus and they're like, I got a secret, you know, like she's very like strategical about it in a way that's like really fun. And you just like enjoying the fun of the adventure with her.

Speaker 3:

She figured out everything to do with the school bus yard and where it went and when he was gonna stop and how long they should wait and then wait a little bit longer. I thought she is really getting some detail here

Speaker 1:

Where to where to hide his trumpet and his bed.

Speaker 2:

So that yeah , she planned it very well. I mean credit to Claudia , this was a well executed plan on every level.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And like the level of detail she put into like which brother she would take <laugh> yeah . Jamie's the , the Meer

Speaker 2:

<laugh> well, and she also knew how to like hook him in too. Yeah . Like she knew she was gonna have to make it appeal to him in some way. So I was like, okay , I'm gonna pitch his an adventure and I'm gonna flatter him and then he'll be all in on this. And he was,

Speaker 3:

I liked the idea of complications. Yep . Yeah . There's certainly were

Speaker 1:

Some, I love that .

Speaker 2:

Shes , dirt and complications with the description of Jamie . I

Speaker 1:

Think she says like, she admits that he's been like cheating his friend in the game , their game of war war , which first of all, I really wanna know his secret. How do you cheat at war? It's like, it seems impossible to me, but the fact that he like is cheating his friend and then she's like, how could you cheat your friend? That seems terrible. He's like, I sure don't know. I guess I really like complications <laugh>

Speaker 2:

Yeah . I think Jamie's a great character as well. And like I , obviously Claudia very much hit home for me, but so did some of the Jamie stuff too, because I was a terrible miser with my money. And I, I could have told you at any point, like down to the scent , how much money I had and where I had hidden it. And I thought about money a lot. And so I feel like that would resonate for another kid. His liking dirt and complications also might resonate for a lot of kids. Cause yeah, there's real fun in that, you know, there's fun in an adventure. There's fun in , uh , just kinda winging things as you go mm-hmm <affirmative> and that they play off of each other so well is really nice too. Like they still bicker mm-hmm <affirmative> , you know, they're siblings of that age gap. They're going to fight. But I think it's a very true like sibling relationship. Mm-hmm <affirmative> where it's like, oh, having a co-conspirator really brings you together with somebody

Speaker 1:

<laugh> yeah.

Speaker 3:

Teamwork when needed for sure.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm <affirmative> okay. So we have another book that has AWOL parents in it. Now this time the parents didn't remove themselves from the situation the kids removed <laugh> themselves from the parents. But do we wanna talk a little bit about this book and sort of where it fits in the, the long lines of , uh , parentless kid trope ?

Speaker 1:

I mean, we've talked about it before that, like as a kid, I think you read this and you don't ever think like, oh, where are the parents and what are they doing? But as an adult the whole time, I couldn't help being like, their parents must be freaking out. Like they must be so stressed and it almost made it a little hard for me to read cuz I was like, so worried for them. Like their kids have been missing for more than a week.

Speaker 3:

They really are not seen at all. I mean, they should everything that she talks about, it references them very briefly and mentions something about, oh, I wonder what my mom's thinking li well she's freaking out <laugh>

Speaker 2:

Yeah. They tell her like your , your mother must be frantic. I think at one point Jamie asked her something about like, what do you, or maybe it's Ms . Frank Waller asked her about like, what did you think about like, what do you think your mother is doing? Well, be honest, hasn't really even she's

Speaker 1:

Like car letter ,

Speaker 2:

Like I told her not to worry

Speaker 3:

Sent a letter , which she sent like right away. Yeah . That's just been like a week since then. So it was just in some of these it's you can tell on some books that like , like that the , the parents are this sort of unseen kind of thing, or they precipitate something that gets the kid out of the house and that there was just sort of absent. And even at the end where you might have seen this reunion, it's just, you know, you have the testimony of this chauffeur taking the kids home. They didn't put the privacy <laugh> window back up so that all of that stuff can be reported. And we never, we never see them reunite with the parents . So yeah,

Speaker 2:

It does make it interesting that the book comes full circle with the lawyer Senbar being their grandfather at the beginning of the book. When she's first, when Ms . Frank Waller's first writing to Sen, she says something about like, you'd almost be interested if you weren't. So like hung up on this, this, this, and your grandchildren. And then at the end, when we find out, oh, that's cuz his grandchildren have been missing this whole time.

Speaker 1:

It's like, what a twist

Speaker 2:

Missed miss Frankwell really is the old lady version of Claudia. She didn't care what they were feeling either.

Speaker 1:

<laugh> , you know, I was thinking too, I guess two things like one, I think thinking back to when this was written, kids did have a lot more independence back then. And I think that makes a lot of this book possible in a way that it wouldn't be as possible today. Like they're just not as, they just were not as like surveilled and, and tracked as, as I think kids are now, it , it is like kind of interesting to think about how this book would be received now, compared to at the time that was written,

Speaker 2:

The level of autonomy the kids have in the book. Okay. You could still go to the public library. You could still technically go to the met as a kid unaccompanied, but like going to buy a post office box. I feel like would probably set off a lot of like red flags for people today. And , and that's part of sort of helicopter parenting. It's also part of like, we're constantly tracked a kid who's 12 is gonna have a cell phone , right? You have much better ways to track the kid than they did where they're getting mail from her sporadically. And that would be a whole nother twist to the story. Like she'd have to get rid of the cell phone so that they couldn't be tracked. Kids did have a lot more autonomy. And I think a lot more was put on kids at that age because certain things were considered to be safer. So it wasn't all that weird for kids to go and possibly rent a PO box. Maybe they were doing it for their parent. You know, it wasn't as weird to see young children like grocery shopping, you know , they're able to sort of fly under the radar and avoid detection by just piggybacking on like school groups and stuff. But they really don't have to do that much to avoid detection because they don't stand out that much.

Speaker 3:

Right. And for them to go and eat breakfast or lunch of , you know, 12 and nine restaurants, that's not. And then Jamie had that big elaborate thing about how the boiler had exploded. <laugh> yeah . <laugh> I was like, that was wow. That was really good. He said, yeah, I , yeah , I came up with that one. I've been glad seeing it so glad to get a chance to use it,

Speaker 1:

Which I thought was really funny. Cuz I would think Claudia would be mad at him that he came up with something so easily fact checked, but she was like, he , she was like so proud of him for having that story ready to go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. The going to the restaurant is really interesting because that's something that I did with my friends when I was Claudia's age. Like when we were in middle school, I would bike to my friend's house. And then there were like four or five of us and we would bike into town and go to the chilis cuz we were real high end and we'd order the endless chips and a drink each, which sorry to the chili waitresses because we were the worst people ever now in retrospect. But we didn't know cuz we were like 11 or 12, no one ever was like, where are your parents? Or why are you here at this restaurant unaccompanied? And I think now people might be where , where are your grownups? It just, yeah, that's a big cultural shift

Speaker 3:

Used to go off of school or off of some after school thing. And I'd go to a place to get a , a hot dog and a drink while I waited for my mom to get off of her part-time job. And no one ever would've said a , you know , a word to me-hmm and I certainly was no more than about 12. So

Speaker 2:

Right. So let's talk about Claudia a little bit more. Claudia's clearly are our heroin of this story. Is she a role model? Should we be asking the Harriet question? Is she a sociopath

Speaker 1:

<laugh> no,

Speaker 2:

I think Claudia's a much more sympathetic character personally than Harriet cuz Harriet was just straight up mean on purpose. Claudia's more uh solipsistic at times, but I don't think it's ever pointedly cruel. It's more just she's forgotten her mom exists.

Speaker 3:

<laugh> yeah. I mean I she's goal oriented. She changes her goals when she achieves one. She um, and is ready to , to bargain with Mrs . Frank Weiler to, to get the information that she needs. Yeah. I think she's a role model. Jamie is a role model I guess too.

Speaker 2:

And they take care of each other, which I also think is a nice sibling relationship and something good to aspire to getting along with your sibling well enough that you could be on the lamb for a week together and have each other's backs like that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. That's extremely alien to me, neither of my brothers and I would , that would not have happened.

Speaker 1:

<laugh> so like as someone who was at that time and still to this day is kind of known as an obnoxious, Knowit all , uh , you know, it's nice to have a nice obnoxious Knowit all character I could connect with <laugh> I think, but I do think you see her grow and like really kind of reflect on, you know, why she did what she did, what it means to like be a kid in the world. Like that's some pretty deep stuff. And I think it's important to have a kid ask those big questions in a book and like trust that your tween readers will be interested in that and wanna read about that. And like I loved when she was talking about how their fiscal week starts on Wednesday <laugh>

Speaker 2:

Yes , that was fantastic.

Speaker 1:

She's very responsible. She's gonna allow Jamie to escape the tyranny of shoes. <laugh> I love her. She has a lot of good like one liners , but I think it's nice to see a kid being kind of responsible and uptight. She's allowed to be that, you know, and that's okay. I'm a little iffy about like glorifying running away from your house. <laugh> so that's maybe not the most role modeling thing, but

Speaker 3:

I don't think it portrays it as a total LA it shows us a little bit of why she got to that point that she felt that that was a decision to make. And within her mind sending the letter going somewhere kind of safe and controlled like a museum, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I think also she was able to put aside some of her impulses and instincts to be a good member of the team. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like she did not go splurge on the taxi cabs or the hot fudge Sunday . She deferred to Jamie, she delegated well and said, okay, I know this is not my strength. So I will defer to you on the issues with the money and the budget, which I think is a , a good thing for kids to see teamwork

Speaker 3:

A sense of fairness too. Yeah , because it was mostly Jamie's money.

Speaker 2:

He was his money too

Speaker 3:

<laugh> and he ,

Speaker 2:

All of it with

Speaker 3:

Authorized everything. And I just, I think that struck me more on this reread than I in , in listening to be read aloud so many years ago that mm-hmm <affirmative> that yes, it was hit . So, you know, they each had their role to play and they deferred to each other and, and work together. Mm-hmm

Speaker 1:

<affirmative> she also learns kind of how to be a person in the world. Like the, if you correct someone's grammar, every time they talk, they're probably not gonna wanna talk to anymore. And so I need to learn like how to like have civil, respectful, like I can still love grammar. Right. I can still like appreciate good language, but not have to like be condescending every time I talk to my brother, that's like a moment of growth for her. I think at the end of the

Speaker 2:

Book, it's an interesting moment of growth for her at the end when she sort of realizes what it is she needs for herself. There's a real sense of her sort of moving from being a child, to like a young woman at the end of the book, when she's able to have this thing that's internalized and it's only hers, but that's gonna kind of keep her going. Mm-hmm <affirmative> because it's internalized and it's only hers and it's not this like outward thing, which was part of what she was trying to run away from is like my whole identity are these outward things, these roles that people put on me. So she has her secret about the sketch and about the statue and that'll all live inside her and that's enough to like keep her going in a way mm-hmm <affirmative> um , and I think there's something very sophisticated about that idea in a children's book that, that bit of like knowing yourself and knowing what a thing says about you and being okay with that. Just being something that you hold and or motivated by mm-hmm <affirmative> I think is a , an interesting take for a kid's book

Speaker 1:

And figuring out who to kind of let in and trust because she really wants to like make this adventure, like she wants a tight control over it. Like she's planned everything, every piece to her liking. She doesn't wanna give up any information unless she absolutely has to. And she kind of learns that in order to get what she needs. She does have to put a little faith in Ms . Frank Waller to be that resource that she needs to help her get there. She wouldn't have had that internal piece if she hadn't let someone else in

Speaker 3:

Here were two of the lines that I liked referencing what, what you're both saying both towards the end and when she's met Mrs. Frank weer, Mrs . Frank weer has given her some insight into Claudia by telling us secrets are the kind of adventures she needs. Secrets are safe, and they do much to make you different on the inside where it count. This is Frank Weiler kind of counseling her on that, about the type of adventure you can have and the meaning that those secrets can have, because Claudia's saying, well, if nobody knows about it, how , what good will that be? How wonderful that will be. And then I really love this line so much almost towards the very end. Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place , but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. And it's just lovely to think that

Speaker 2:

The book's really full of these very pithy quote it's really well written . I , I would like to talk a little bit more about the , the writing style of the book, because I think it is pretty unique for the time. And I think it stands out in children's literature. There's so many moments like the quotes that is when Ms . Frank Byler saying the , the adventure is over, everything gets over and nothing is ever enough. There's all of these things that just perfectly encapsulate a vibe or a feeling like, I think that's part of why the book resonates so well, is that even as an adult, you read some of these things and it's like, oh , I feel that one in my bones, you feel it like it's really, really well wr . We were talking about it being in a epistolary style, which really was not common for children's literature at the time. And now it's extraordinarily common. Like it's a very common device that's used, but I was looking back think that that makes the book really interesting. It feels more grown

Speaker 1:

Up. When I was reading, I wrote down that it's the most exciting book about probate law I've ever read. <laugh>

Speaker 2:

Nice .

Speaker 1:

<laugh> yeah. I I've always loved a epi epi distillery style novels. And I wonder if part of it came from this. I do think it's interesting because you can kind of forget that it's a epi distillery because she really only writes in like true letter form, like two sax Inberg at the beginning and the end, the middle kind of turns more into a story. And you , you kind of forget until you have those little kind of aside , like Sen Berg . I must explain to you the restaurant at the cafe, because I know you're too du to understand or something, you know?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And I , I think I had forgotten that that was really how it was framed. Mm-hmm <affirmative> because I , in my mind, the , the story UN spooled and Claudia told us some, and Jamie told us some, and I get to the end, I'm like, oh, that's right. They're kind of like saying all of this into the tape recorder. So then I guess it just, I had forgotten it and it, some epistolary novels now have, you know, multiple letters back and forth. And that's part of this story that you've got person writing to each other, or maybe there's a third person involved where this one really extends, you know, pretty much the old way has the asides to remind you of it. But not, I consistently every couple seconds, it doesn't talk to you the way lemony SN will

Speaker 1:

Break

Speaker 3:

The wall, talk to you and , or say dear reader or things like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. As someone who really loved, let me think it's work. I, I feel like this probably primed me well for that as a reader,

Speaker 2:

I was thinking how much the Westing game mm-hmm , <affirmative> owes to this book. And we'll , we'll tackle the Westing game at another date soon. But yeah. And I think that it owes a lot to this book as well, but it really does feel like this book was doing something new as a children's book. There's also the like letters within the letters, essentially, because you have Claudia's letter to the met mm-hmm <affirmative> and then the Mets letter back <laugh> and then there's so like, <laugh> just dejected. And Claudia's like, it's just way worse to get a polite rejection letter than if like they had been rude. And I could just be mad about that. It hurts more when they're nice about it. <laugh> and that's really true too,

Speaker 3:

But at least they bother , I looked at it , at least they bother to explain. Yeah. Because some , sometimes you get this kind of thing and they're like, no, we know all about it,

Speaker 2:

I guess . But like, don't you also see a from point , like if you apply for a job and then they send you this, like, we're sorry, you were a great candidate, but we've, you know, we've decided on somebody else. We're, we're sorry to not be able to offer it to you. That hurts a lot worse that like, if they never call you back or something, you're like, well, I wouldn't have wanted to work there anyways. Yeah . <laugh> it's back

Speaker 1:

Percent .

Speaker 3:

Or I think that some people say it's even worse when they tell you why they didn't pick you and why they pick someone else. So that's kind of, I guess, the feeling that she got with this letter.

Speaker 1:

Well, and , and you can imagine she probably feels a little stupid, right? Like they were like, oh, we uncovered this great secret. And the that's kind of like, yeah , we knew that

Speaker 2:

Already. <laugh> well , it's interesting too, that she and Jamie have such like opposite reactions. Like Jamie's like, this is cool. They treat us like adults. And they wrote us this letter back. And look, we did all these things that the grownups are doing. And Claudia's very much like, no, they're just telling us we're not special. The polarity of their responses to that are really nice illustration of their personalities.

Speaker 1:

Um, the other quote that I saw from Koberg is she said that the reason she writes 12 year olds is this idea that you both want to be in your very core, like special and unique, and also wanna be the same as everyone else. And she, her kind of like mission as a writer to like explore the distance between those two ideas and how you reconcile them and one person. And I think you see that so much in Claudia, as we've already kind of talked about

Speaker 2:

This one. Also, we talked a little bit in our prep about the death by Newberry trope , which I don't know if somebody wants to explain that, but this one does not fall into that trap. Nobody dies in this book, no animals die in this book. There's not really any tragedy in this book at all. They have a very successful adventure

Speaker 3:

And no villains.

Speaker 2:

No's villas. You go there's , there's no bad guys. It's just two kids that go on this, this madcap adventure, and live in the met for a week, more or less a happy ending for everyone. I guess we don't see what happens when they get home. I'm sure that family's gonna need like really intensive therapy after this, because,

Speaker 1:

Well, it's funny because you could flip this story and it could be about like, what's her brother's name, Sam and Kevin, like dealing with their siblings being missing. And then that would be like prime death by Newberry content. Right. But we' just seeing the other side of the story. <laugh> yeah . I thought death by Newberry. I thought it was like saying that when you get a Newberry award, people don't wanna read your book anymore. <laugh> cause I know there's like a thing where a lot of people are like, don't agree with the Newberry medal or don't feel that it selects.

Speaker 2:

I think there's been real validity to the idea that new bees often are books that adults like for kids, but they are not books that kids like. So yeah, I think that exists too. I don't know if there's a name for that.

Speaker 1:

I feel that way about prince award for two ,

Speaker 2:

Every book a is mid one , her blood there that's

Speaker 1:

If it's gonna win a medal, like the most prestigious award that we have in our field, like one of the most prestigious award we have in our field, like you want it to be like life changing book, the way to pick a life changing book is to have something life changing happen in the book. Right? Like that's not true, but that's like the mindset. So I think it is cool that a book that like where really nothing of significance happens and it's like kind of funny and like it's not of grand consequence in the grander scheme of their lives.

Speaker 2:

It's not a tragedy. Yeah. I mean, so many of the books that when Nuber are about tragedy or struggle and there's like we said, there's not really a lot of struggle in this Claudia perceives a struggle for herself. And her struggle is real, but it's, it's nothing horrible. You know, she's, she's fighting on weed, not fighting racism or a terminal illness or the death of a parent. Like none of these things that are typical Newberry bait or present in this one, which is refreshing.

Speaker 1:

It's like the universal struggle of being a teen , that simple plan talked about mm-hmm <affirmative>, I'm just a kid. Life is a nightmare. So Claudia says in the book, they have an advantage that most people don't have to solve the mystery, which is they live with the statue. And when you live with someone, you get to know them, like that's the best way to get to know someone, which I think is a very funny way of thinking about it. So I guess it is the idea of the museum as a place to kind of just casually be versus it being created as built up as this like learning experience and kind of the different way they're able to see the museum when they sleep in the bed or take baths in the fountain or they wanna hug the statue. Like how is this a different lens of like looking at and understanding what it means to appreciate art and history? I think is interesting.

Speaker 2:

That is interesting, especially because it does run alongside though , this one bothered me a little bit. So Jamie's class comes to the, met on a field trip while they're there. It seems like he should have mentioned that like

Speaker 1:

Probably should

Speaker 2:

Have known God . Uh , we were gonna come to the met anyways this week. Uh there's Myla .

Speaker 1:

Jamie is not the kind of kid who thinks I had done his

Speaker 2:

Schedule. No, he clearly didn't with this one, but it is interesting. You have the , the classmates experience of standing in line and they're making fun of the one girl and saying, she looks like the Pharaoh and then the other kid's like punching the other one. Their experience on their field trip is very different than the experience that Claudia and Jamie are having, where it's this idea that the structured thing that the school takes you on, you don't really get that much out of. It's just, oh, it's different than a school day. But then the two kids when left to their own devices to just explore and be hands on , they went and did like high level research. Yeah . At the , at the library with like, they were like little art historians, they learned about like the maker's mark on the sculptures that Michelangelo had done. They learned all of these things, Renaissance art, right. That they would not have gotten at all just from going on the field trip where the things that they would've remembered, Sarah looks like a Pharaoh. Right. And Ruben did this thing. Well,

Speaker 1:

And, and kind of, interestingly, I think a theme that emerges is this idea of like pivoting from knowing something, just to know it versus knowing something, because it matters to you and it connects with your life in some way, or it has true meaning to you. Like Claudia's ideas that they will go through the museum every day and they will learn something new. And by the end of their stay , they've all known everything there is to know about the met, which, you know, Mrs. Frank Waller says like, it is , that is not possible, but Claudia doesn't know that yet. But then they get to the library and she's like, okay, I've realized this is not possible. Now I'll know everything there is to know about Michael Angelo and the statue. And when they get to the end of the book, she's explaining her strategy to Mrs. Frank Waller and saying like, oh, we wanted to learn something new every day . And Ms . Frank Waller says, I'm mean you too. I don't have to learn something new every day because that's, that's not what adds value to my life. That's not what creates meaning in my life as a precocious 12 year old, who has been defined by being smart and knowing things. That's a really important thing to hear is like, you are not defined by how many things you know, or how much knowledge you acquire.

Speaker 2:

Well, and that it's not a competition. Yeah. I think that's the other thing is Ms . Frank Waller says something about like, you need to sit with the things that you've learned and let them take up space inside you and fill up this space. So like that you really need to process things. You really need to be with the things that you're acquiring. She's like that with her collections as well. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that it can't just be this, like I know 83 facts about Michelangelo kind of thing. Right. She's telling Claudia don't be straight A's Claudia anymore. Like, because that wasn't giving you any kind of satisfaction. Instead you need to be Claudia that lives in this thing that you've learned that really gets meaning out of it. And, and lets that sort of inform your life in some way.

Speaker 1:

Right? Most of our books seem to touch on Halloween in some capacity and things that are not great about Halloween. This one may be where they originated the idea that candy is poisoned on

Speaker 2:

Halloween. Oh yes.

Speaker 1:

So Claudia says they find a chocolate bar on the ground and Claudia says that the chocolate bar is either poisoned or filled with marijuana because someone wants to make them into dope feed . So they buy their product <laugh> and Jamie's like, it's okay. And he just eats

Speaker 2:

It. He eats it anyways.

Speaker 1:

<laugh>

Speaker 2:

I feel like there's so many arguments for don't eat the half-eaten street chocolate that aren't, someone's trying to get you hooked on

Speaker 3:

Drugs. <laugh> I mean, I think he was his argument. It was like an unopened package , but somehow she was like, thinking somebody's gonna do a tiny little thin , you

Speaker 1:

Know , oh , it's always the syringe

Speaker 3:

And edit some little syringe

Speaker 1:

<laugh> or they, they vacuum sealed it after they rubbed it and dumped

Speaker 3:

It full of

Speaker 1:

<laugh> .

Speaker 2:

Oh, one thing we didn't talk about is, is this a feminist book?

Speaker 3:

I would say that it is doesn't really discuss traditional roles, but it's clear that Claudia feels that initially it's not that she's just the oldest that she has to go around and clean up her brothers, even when they're old enough and capable to be set, to do certain chores. Aren't there's certainly the testimony from Mrs. Frank Weiler in multiple ways that says that, look, I'm not a typical woman and I refuse to be in a mold. You know, I will break out of any mold I would say. Yes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I mean, you've got the , the two main women are confident they're taking charge of their life. They're making decisions. They're, you know, asserting their independence. They're really pushing back against the boxes that are being put on them or around them or however you would employ that metaphor. So yeah. I think even if they weren't commenting on some of the social stuff, like you spoke to Audrey, I think just in general, I think they are feminist characters. They are whole people who are flawed and imperfect, but have a lot of really great qualities to them that kind of push back against some stereotypes, especially in the sixties when this was written.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. There's a really great Twitter thread online that maybe we can link in the blog. Yeah . Um , where somebody proposes that Claudia Kincaid as an icon of 20th century, feminism, <laugh> he keys in on this idea of she's refusing to live the life she's been assigned. Like she's really trying to figure out what do I need? What is this for me? And she picks herself. She says, I'm done with all of these things. Other people want me to be doing, I can't take it anymore. I'm gonna go live as a met. And then Ms. Frank Weiler, I think is the adult version of a Claudia. Like, yes , she's a little eccentric, but she's lived a very fulfilling life. And you get the sense that at 82, she's quite satisfied with the way things have worked out. And that's been sort of a rejection of the things that other people want. Other people want to come into her house and see all of these things that she has. And she's like, no, they're for me, she, she only lets the kids in mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. I think there's a strong sense of, of feminism here

Speaker 3:

And even a little bit of discussion of like beauty standards and how you should or could look. And Mrs. Frank Waters rejected all of this .

Speaker 1:

Yes .

Speaker 2:

It all . Yes . <laugh> that scene is great.

Speaker 1:

When she brings the mirror, she's like Jamie comments on her appearance and she makes her,

Speaker 2:

Well, he , he says her Butler. She's like, I don't look that bad. Do I? Or something. And he's like, oh no, I'm not scared of you. I've seen a lot worse looking thing . Yeah .

Speaker 1:

That's it. And she like makes them all just like, I just picture them like quietly sitting there while they like wait for the mirror. And then she gets the mirror and they're all just quietly sitting there and just like how awkward that must have been for them and how like totally undisturbed she is by like pausing the whole situation just to like look at herself. And ,

Speaker 2:

But again, that is very like, it it's very much Claudia. Yeah. Because Claudia pauses everyone's dinner and everything in this stranger's house because she's like, I really wanna take a bath in that cool bath . And she just does it . She takes like an hour long bath. Yeah. Um, yeah, I think it's just very like knowing yourself and being okay in yourself and you know , people just deal with

Speaker 3:

It and, and serving , uh , macaroni cheese caserole yes . With their French thing for lunch.

Speaker 1:

That's fine . CA

Speaker 3:

I like that . She's she's like, I like macaroni cheese. We're having it's like, well, all right . <laugh> each episode, our luminous literary and HAA will provide miscellaneous and insights from our book. It's time for Haas's Headspace.

Speaker 4:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to how is Headspace a part of the podcast where I literally say whatever comes to mind. So I know in the book from the mixed up files of Mrs. Besley E Frank Waller , siblings, Claudia, and Jamie run away to the metropolitan museum of art in New York city. If I made the decision to run away to the last museum that I visited, I would end up at the planet word museum in Washington, DC, in their words, the planet word museum is the only museum in the country dedicated to renewing and inspiring a love of words and language compared to a lot of them, Smithsonian museums in the area. It's not that big. So I'd probably get caught pretty easily. They have a spoken world's exhibit where people follow the prompts on the individual's helpless to try their hand at speaking different languages, which causes the large L E D globe in the room to light up. That's where I'd hide because not only is the globe big enough for me to hide in without anyone noticing, but there's constantly people speaking. So I wouldn't have to worry about trying to not make noise while folks there, you have it tune in next time to see what else is going .

Speaker 1:

Now , let's talk to someone who actually knows something about one of the main topics covered in this book, the Newberry award.

Speaker 5:

Hi everyone. I'm Pam Hamlin and I'm the family literacy specialist with the bridge George's county Memorial library system.

Speaker 1:

And in addition to that role, you are a former Newberry committee member. Can you tell us about the Newberry medal is

Speaker 5:

Each year the association for library services to children, which is part of the American library association , um , gives an award to the most distinguished contribution to children's literature. How

Speaker 1:

Did you get involved with this?

Speaker 5:

Well, originally I had volunteered, said I was interested in being on the Caldecot metal , which is the picture book. Then the president of ALSC SK asked if I wanted to be on the Newberry because they wanted someone with an early childhood background. So sometimes you're sort of nominated by the president of S and other times you're voted in.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Sometimes it can be really intense. I know sometimes people campaign to get on. So it's kind of funny that you had the slow , the , you had a sideway in.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, it was nice. I wouldn't have campaigned <laugh> yeah .

Speaker 1:

<laugh> um , so tell us about, what was your experience like being on the committee? What, what is, what are some of the requirements and like, how did you manage that?

Speaker 5:

I had a really good experience on the committee. I've heard that sometimes committees can be quite intense and sometimes not as fun. I had a great group you're required to read hundreds of books over the year and take notes on them and be prepared to sort of push forward. The ones you think have more merit than others and be prepared to write, you know, a little summary sort of defending the criteria and reread books and defend them, sort of you're like defending them when we , when we finally got together for in-person deliberations about why you thought this book warranted the award.

Speaker 1:

I remember when you were in the midst of this, you would tell me about how like boxes of books would just show up at your friend door mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> and pile up around your house. How did you get yourself to stay on top of reading as much as you had to, to be part of the committee? How'd you pace that out

Speaker 5:

First? I sort of put everything in alphabetical order in these boxes, and I just set aside a time to read every night and every day , like eight o'clock. I knew eight o'clock on would be my reading time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And I think, I remember you telling me that like, sometimes you'd know pretty soon on if this was, or wasn't gonna be a good fit to kind of giving yourself permission to keep going or move on.

Speaker 5:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, I wanted to read as much as possible at first so that I could sort of see what met the criteria, what was good. And then as time went on, you sort of know, okay, well this , this is a good book, but it's not up there sort of with the , the top ones that I've been looking at. So, and sometimes you didn't wanna put 'em down, but then you had to realize there was time involved. So it was hard to pick and choose. And sometimes you just, you didn't maybe a book someone had put forward as a good read and you didn't like it <laugh> so sometimes you have to put it down and then pick it back up because the ones that other people were suggesting, we all really wanted to make sure we had all read those.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. What were some of the most important criteria for the book that you selected?

Speaker 5:

Okay. So for the, well, I can tell you what the criteria are <laugh> yeah. Or

Speaker 1:

I I'm curious, like what your priorities were like, what you felt like were most important to look out for what most books didn't have, that the one that you ended up picking, like really made it stand out, you know,

Speaker 5:

I guess the plot and the character development also appropriateness for that age group, which is basically birth to 14. To me, the plot is very important and just making sure I read it through the eyes of a child and not as an adult me. Right. Which was easy, cuz I , I love kids' books anyway. So

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Um, do you have any particular memories that stand out from that time or any stories of your experience being on the committee?

Speaker 5:

I remember some people being very passionate to the point of tears sometimes about books, which was new to me, just the , I just had a great group of people. I was a great diverse group of people as far as background, whether they were public or , or private or school or , um , academic librarians or professors and just hearing the different perspectives cuz some of them I would've never thought about. So that was really cool. And just, you sort of made friends, we were still try to meet each other at different alas and we send each other emails. I don't know . I just had a really good experience. Just exposed to so many different books. I tell you, I learned more that year about all different things than I could say. I learned in certain years of school and just the people. That's

Speaker 1:

Awesome. So can you tell us which book you ended up selecting with your committee and um, if you could please relay the story of how you let the author know she wanted .

Speaker 5:

Okay . So we had one, obviously one winner and it was mercy sores changes gears by Meg Medina. And we had two honor books , um, the night diary by Vera, her Don . And we also had the book of boy that was the other honor book by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch. And so you get to call them and it was very awesome, but you call them really early in the morning. So we were trying to call Meg Medina and no one answers <laugh>. So it's like six 30, I think it might have even been maybe not cuz we were in the , on the west coast when we were calling, but it was still early in the morning on a Monday and we called like two or three times no answer. And she finally picked up and uh, said she didn't think she was gonna win. And I guess sometimes they called in the evenings and she hadn't heard anything. So she had gone either walking her to the gym or something and had come back in and she broke down crying and we all were crying and it was just a , a really, a really neat experience. Yeah, love that. And we were worried a little bit like how are we gonna <laugh> how are we gonna contact her?

Speaker 1:

<laugh> gotta let her know before it's like public national news.

Speaker 5:

Right, right.

Speaker 1:

Would you ever do it again?

Speaker 5:

I said, if I did it again, I would do it after I retired <laugh> cuz it was a lot of time and you wanna give it the time it deserves. Um, but I also, I sort of don't wanna do it because I had such a good experience and I'm want wondering if I get another group and it just isn't the same. I don't want it tainted. So right now I think I would do a , like maybe a , um, another award that wasn't so intense. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but I definitely recommend people trying to get on it cuz it, it was great. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Anything else you wanna share?

Speaker 5:

Try to read some of the Newberry books if you haven't there's some great ones. Especially the last couple of years. I always try to read them now,

Speaker 1:

Do you have a favorite?

Speaker 5:

I read how to trap a tiger, which was I think last year, but yeah, I'm always trying to read , read them now. I may not have read them. I remember picking 'em when I was a kid, cuz I saw this , this , the stick , the sticker. And sometimes they were green . Sometimes they weren't <laugh> but I try to read all the new ones now.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Well thank you so much for joining me today. I

Speaker 5:

Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 2:

Okay. For our game segment today, I took a page out of the book where Mrs. Frank Weiler donates the statue for $225 to the met. And they think they've potentially found this great deal and bargain because maybe it's by Michelangelo . I'm going to have you look at some images that I found and we'll have a miniature auction between the two of you. Some of these items are great and worth a great deal of money. Some of them are more like garage sale items <laugh> and not worth a great deal of money. So at the end of the game, we'll see who has come out best in terms of their auction purchases. Each of you has a thousand dollars to spend. Okay? Our game is called bargain hunters. <laugh> a speculative art and antiquities auction game. Wow. So our

Speaker 1:

Trademark pending.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Our first item is a painting of a rich lady of unknown provenance . Would anybody give me $100 for this painting of a rich lady?

Speaker 3:

I'll give you a hundred,

Speaker 2:

A hundred to Audrey,

Speaker 1:

A hundred and one, one oh one

Speaker 2:

To Kelsey . This could be a long game. If we're going in $1 increment,

Speaker 3:

1 25,

Speaker 1:

This feels like a scam.

Speaker 2:

1 25 to Audrey. Audrey wins the painting of a rich lady. Let me, I feel like

Speaker 1:

This's a rich in the title to make us think it's expensive. I've been watching a lot of survivor and they always do a , a gambling game every season. Yeah . And I've learned you can't, you can't blow your money early.

Speaker 2:

No , but unless it's peanut butter, you need to go all in on

Speaker 1:

Peanut , but it's usually

Speaker 2:

Undercover. So we have Boston red stockings baseball cards, which are signed some baseball memorabilia.

Speaker 1:

I'm feeling like they're displaying it somewhere. So it looks like it has some value to me. So I will say, and maybe I shouldn't say this cuz it's giving you clues. I will say a hundred dollars,

Speaker 2:

A hundred dollars to Kelsey ,

Speaker 3:

1 75, 1 75

Speaker 2:

To Audrey, 180 180 to Kelsey,

Speaker 3:

200, 2 15, 2 25, 2 25

Speaker 2:

To Audrey

Speaker 1:

I'll hold

Speaker 2:

<laugh> . This is gonna make everything easier for , for Kelsey at the end. If she can just hold out, drive you up on the next item. She'll get all three of the end

Speaker 3:

Ones. Three 50 . I think

Speaker 2:

<laugh> all right . Okay. Our next item is a presidential bust of Grover Cleveland. Mm .

Speaker 3:

My favorite president. This is gonna color my uh

Speaker 1:

Uhoh Audrey. Why is he your favorite president? He was

Speaker 3:

Elected two times, but not consecutively. Couple reasons. It's good . But that's one of 'em . You also got married in the white house.

Speaker 2:

Do I have a starting bit of a hundred dollars for the best of grower Cleveland? Oh,

Speaker 3:

Okay . My

Speaker 2:

<laugh> hundred to Audrey .

Speaker 1:

I don't really think it's worth anything, but I feel bad. I haven't bought anything yet.

Speaker 2:

1 50, 1 50 to Kelsey.

Speaker 3:

1 51 <laugh>

Speaker 2:

1 51 Audrey,

Speaker 1:

1 75, 1 75

Speaker 2:

To Kelsey. Wow . Audrey's out on Grover. Cleveland looks like

Speaker 1:

President.

Speaker 2:

This is so hard. Grover Cleveland to Kelsey for 1 75 .

Speaker 1:

I get I'm. I'm getting bad, bad vibes about this purchase. I might regret it.

Speaker 2:

Our next one is a selection of small cups made from rhinos horn.

Speaker 3:

Whoa, Ooh . Okay.

Speaker 1:

50 bucks

Speaker 2:

50 for the rhinos horn cups to Kelsey

Speaker 3:

7,500

Speaker 2:

Hundred to Kelsey.

Speaker 3:

She can have 'em

Speaker 2:

All right . Hundred dollars for Kelsey gets the rhinoceros.

Speaker 1:

God , we're gonna have to bet big on our last ones. We both have a lot of money left.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you guys might have to go big or go home on the next one. We've got two more items left. Let's see. This one is a, perhaps a vase or a ceramic receptacle of some sort with some abstract looking faces on it. It's

Speaker 1:

A porcelain trashcan. <laugh>

Speaker 3:

$200.

Speaker 2:

Whoa. $200 for the face base

Speaker 1:

Face, face $300,

Speaker 2:

300 to Kelsey for the face base .

Speaker 3:

3 5400, 400

Speaker 2:

To Kelsey for the face base .

Speaker 3:

Four 50.

Speaker 2:

You you're giving her the face base for four

Speaker 3:

<laugh> . It's probably worth 35 bucks.

Speaker 2:

All right . And our final item,

Speaker 3:

I don't think I have much money. So <laugh> I'll I'll just say I'll bet. All my remaining money. How

Speaker 1:

Much do I have

Speaker 2:

Left? This is , uh , this one is very spot on for our book. It is a donated sculpture.

Speaker 3:

Oh ,

Speaker 2:

Mysterious . So a sculpture that had been sitting in a school for a while that had been donated by a , an eccentric owner. Uh ,

Speaker 3:

Oh , we're

Speaker 1:

A liar. That is not what I was expecting. A

Speaker 3:

Small round liar.

Speaker 1:

No . Ugh . Okay. I don't want this, but I feel like I should buy

Speaker 2:

It. Kelsey gets the donated sculpture unless she's refusing it on principle.

Speaker 1:

I'll take it. How much am I buying it for? So I bought it for 2 0 5, 2 0 1

Speaker 2:

Or

Speaker 1:

Something ? 2 0 1 . Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

I just wanna know how much I have left in case I need it to cover.

Speaker 2:

That might make up the ,

Speaker 1:

Tell me

Speaker 2:

When . Yeah. All right . So painting of a rich lady, Audrey paid 1 25, its estimated price was $700,000. Okay. The baseball memorabilia, someone had tried to buy it from her for $5,000. She had it because her family had run a boarding house in which the team had stayed. The estimated value at auction was 1 million. Audrey spent 2 25 on it. Right ? Our bust of Grover Cleveland actually belongs to MOOC.

Speaker 1:

<laugh>

Speaker 2:

He spent not much different from what you spent, Kelsey, you spent 1 75, he spent one 50. It is worth $200. And was apparently not actually Grover Cleveland

Speaker 1:

<laugh> no , but I profited. Yes,

Speaker 2:

Yes you did. You came out 25 bucks ahead. <laugh> the horn cups sold to Kelsey for a hundred bucks. The appraisal on it was a million, but they actually sold for only 182,000 at auction. So you came out with a big profit, but not what

Speaker 1:

Darn. So what do I

Speaker 2:

Hundred ? So 182,000 . And you spent a hundred bucks on it. Illegal rhinos horn is just

Speaker 1:

Hard to

Speaker 2:

Hard to miss . Not an easy thing to sell these days. The face face was purchased by the owner for 300. Audrey spent four 50 on it. Uh , it was initially appraised as a Picasso. It was not a Picasso and ended up being worth about $2,000. It was made by a girl in Oregon for a high school project <laugh> and she saw it on the show and was like, wait, I did that.

Speaker 1:

But also she got $2,000 for us or I guess

Speaker 2:

Didn't the guy that bought it. Did she didn't get anything was like

Speaker 3:

A yard sale or something freak ?

Speaker 2:

Probably . It just, it ended up in garage sale , a yard sale . And her parents like got rid of it.

Speaker 1:

It's gotta be good to feel.

Speaker 3:

It looked, it looked nice, but not necessarily.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So not, not a huge profit on that one. All right . The donated sculpture, Kelsey spent $201 on it. Uh , it ended up being, I guess, a very excellent example of work by a famous artist and it , uh , sold for $981,000. Uh ,

Speaker 1:

I didn't even want it

Speaker 2:

<laugh> all right . So Audrey came out with $1,702,000 worth of gear in the auction. How about you, Kelsey?

Speaker 1:

<laugh> I got

Speaker 2:

All right . And Kelsey came in with 1 million, $163,200. So a profitable day for both ladies.

Speaker 1:

I'm disappointed.

Speaker 2:

You did come out ahead now wait ,

Speaker 1:

Add my extra 500 that I have left .

Speaker 2:

True. So that's 1 million, $163,700 for Kelsey.

Speaker 1:

I will say I knew those baseball cards are gonna be worth a lot. I should have , I should have fought harder.

Speaker 3:

Okay. Each episode we ask whether our book passes, the Beal test, the Beal test asks whether a work features two female characters who talk to each other about something that doesn't involve men or boys. Now, Claudia does spend a lot of time talking about Michelangelo as the punitive sculpture of angel, but she does talk to Mrs. Frank Weiler about herself.

Speaker 2:

<laugh> yeah, I think this is a barely pass one because she's talking with Jamie for most of the book. So none of that counts, right? So it's only when she's talking to Ms . Frank Weiler ,

Speaker 1:

Low pass , but I'm not upset

Speaker 2:

About it. I'm not either.

Speaker 1:

It's just the nature of the book.

Speaker 3:

And the test really is meant for really egregious examples of

Speaker 2:

It is well, and this one's a little weird because it's aary so like technically Mrs. Frank weer is talking to us the whole time, right? Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I'm a

Speaker 2:

Girl and I'm a girl and she's narrating a story that involves a girl <laugh>

Speaker 1:

To us. That's it for this episode of these books made me join us next time when we'll discuss a book in which a girl's mom sows through her tears. If you think, you know which book we're tackling next drop as a tweet, we're at PGC MLS on Twitter and hashtag these books made me.