The Resource The sixty-eight rooms, Marianne Malone ; illustrations by Greg Call

The sixty-eight rooms, Marianne Malone ; illustrations by Greg Call

The sixty-eight rooms
The sixty-eight rooms
Statement of responsibility
Marianne Malone ; illustrations by Greg Call
Member of
Writing style
  • Gr. 4-6 Sixth-graders Ruthie and her best friend, Jack, are on a class visit to Chicago’s Art Institute, where they see the famous Thorne Rooms. Filled with incredible miniatures, the rooms, representing different time periods, fascinate Ruthie. When she finds a key that shrinks her and allows her to get inside the rooms, Ruthie wants to return as soon as possible. Jack is a willing partner, and when a way is found to shrink him, too, the adventure really begins. First-time novelist Malone carefully crafts a fantastical story with plenty of real-world elements, including Jack’s mother’s worries as she tries to make a living as an artist and the subplot of a museum security guard, who has lost something important. Jack and Ruthie find it in the rooms, which tie the past and present together. There are contrivances that make accessibility to the adventures possible, but readers will focus on the mystery, the history, and the excitement of being small. -- Cooper, Ilene (Reviewed 01-01-2010) (Booklist, vol 106, number 9, p84)
  • Gr 4–6— On a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, sixth-graders Jack and Ruthie discover a magical key that allows them to explore the Thorne Rooms, 68 intricate model rooms in the children's galleries. When Ruthie holds the key, she and anything she is touching, including Jack, shrink to the scale of the models. As they explore the rooms, they learn that they are not the first to discover the key—the daughter of a friendly museum guard was the last to learn the secret of the Thorne Rooms, and she left behind a notebook containing priceless family photographs. If Ruthie and Jack can find and return the notebook without giving up the secret of the rooms, they can change the museum guard's life. However, the rooms are not without their dangers. Ruthie and Jack can move beyond them to the different time periods and locations of each one and, in doing so, may be able to alter the course of history. This is a solid story, though it lacks the cachet that would make it stand out from other similar books. The descriptions of the rooms are faithful to the actual rooms in the museum. The pen-and-ink illustrations are of uneven quality and add little to the story. Recommend this book to fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004) and other stories that incorporate a touch of fantasy into a cozy mystery.—Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY --Misti Tidman (Reviewed February 1, 2010) (School Library Journal, vol 56, issue 2, p118)
  • Debut author Malone pens a fantasy tale of museum time travel that suffers from an underdeveloped cast of characters and some disappointing plotting decisions. When daring 11-year-old Jack finds a key in the hallway behind the Thorne Rooms, 68 miniature historical dioramas housed in the Art Institute of Chicago, he hands it to his best friend, Ruthie, a cautious girl who yearns for excitement. To their shock, she shrinks to five inches tall. After figuring out how to shrink Jack down, the duo hide in the hallway past closing time, try on fancy clothes and armor, battle a cockroach, and are thrilled to find that doors lead out from the rooms into the actual past. Cop-outs abound, there are no villains to speak of, and the sixth-graders generally seem too good to be true (“You mean you've never been to the Thorne Rooms?” Jack asks Ruthie early on. “I thought everyone had!”). Readers will find little excitement in either the time travelogue or the clinical descriptions of the genuinely delightful Thorne Rooms, which deserve better. Ages 8–12. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed January 18, 2010) (Publishers Weekly, vol 257, issue 3, p48)
  • Who hasn't seen the carefully composed exhibits of miniatures at a museum, or even a simple dollhouse, and wondered what it would be like to be small enough to walk inside? First-time author Malone clearly has. Her tale revolves around the magical adventures of two everyday kids, Ruthie and Jack, among the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. Sixth graders at a prestigious private school, they're best friends and complete opposites. When Jack finds a mysterious key on a class outing, a key that enables Ruthie and anything she touches to shrink, the magic begins. Along the way Jack and Ruthie make friends with some children from the past and discover that others have used the key before them. The author works hard providing background details for adult and child characters alike, but she can't quite manage to breathe life into any of them. As a result, her story seems overlong and contains entirely too many convenient coincidences. That said, her effort may find an enthusiastic audience, for the premise is engaging and the plotting easy to follow. Predictable but pleasant. (Magical adventure. 8-12) (Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2010)
Awards note
A Junior Library Guild selection
Cataloging source
Malone, Marianne
no index present
LC call number
LC item number
Si 2010
Literary form
  • 4
  • 6
Call, Greg
Series statement
Sixty-eight rooms adventures
Series volume
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Miniature rooms
  • School field trips
  • Magic
Target audience
pre adolescent
The sixty-eight rooms, Marianne Malone ; illustrations by Greg Call
22 cm.
274 p.
Other physical details
System control number
  • (Sirsi) o298324287
  • (OCoLC)298324287
The sixty-eight rooms, Marianne Malone ; illustrations by Greg Call
22 cm.
274 p.
Other physical details
System control number
  • (Sirsi) o298324287
  • (OCoLC)298324287

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