Themes in The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


From the Mixed-Up Files Theme

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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify a theme from the book and support it with evidence from the text.


One theme is family. The main characters are brother and sister, and Saxonberg is their grandfather. Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler becomes their honorary grandmother.


Three examples of evidence for this theme are:

  • "What happened was: they became a team, a family of two.There had been times before they ran away when they had acted like a team, but those were very different from feeling like a team."
  • "He must have thought STAY PUT exactly hard enough, for Claudia did just that.They never knew exactly why she did, but she did."
  • "Well Saxonberg, that's why I'm leaving the drawing of Angel to…your two lost grandchildren that you were so worried about. Since they intend to make me their grandmother, and you already are their grandfather, that makes us—oh, well, I won't even think about it."

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies a theme in Mixed-Up Files. Illustrate examples and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify a theme in the story and write it on the row.
  3. Find three examples of the theme in the text and describe one in each cell.
  4. Illustrate each example with appropriate characters, scenes, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.
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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler








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