Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Sixty-Eight Rooms

The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Spring 2010 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
ISBN: 9780375857102
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Think Magic Treehouse meets Night at the Museum. The setting of Marianne Malone's fast-paced novel is the Thorne Miniature Rooms of Chicago's Art Institute - 68 miniature rooms precisely constructed to represent European and American interiors in different eras beginning in the late 13th and 17th centuries (Europe and America, respectively) through the 1930s. They showcase late Chicago socialite Narcissa Ward Thorne's astounding collection of miniatures, accumulated through years of travel, and also her impeccable eye. The rooms, built to her exacting specifications, are considered serious works of art.

While a popular exhibit at the museum, the Thorne Rooms' celebrity has faded over the years making them a too well-kept secret; it's unlikely that young readers are familiar with them - yet. Malone, a Chicago native, drew on her own experiences growing up and visiting the 68 rooms. She brings them to life and renders them accurately, right down to a journal that sits on one of the miniature desks and plays a key role in the story.

Ruthie and Jack, the only two sixth-grade scholarship kids in an exclusive Chicago private school, are apartment-dwelling city kids --Jack in an artist's loft, Ruthie in a family unit. When the class takes a field trip to the Art Institute, Jack finds an ornate magic key that, in Ruthie's hands, shrinks not only her person but anything or anyone she touches to, you guessed it, suitably sized for a Thorne Room. All of the components of a good story are on exhibit for this overnight museum adventure and time-travel romp.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

Look for this product at:
Random House Books for Young Readers

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