Series: Sixty-Eight Rooms #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on February 23rd 2010
Number of Pages: 288
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery, Time Travel
Purchase: At Amazon
Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed in the Children’s Galleries of the Chicago Art Institute, they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms made in the 1930s by Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Each of the 68 rooms is designed in the style of a different historic period, and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. Some might even say, the rooms are magic.
Imagine—what if you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you were small enough to sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind?
Time travel, magic, mystery and real world things! I really enjoyed this book. It was a neat idea, and reminded me a little bit of The Mixed Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
I really liked the description of the Thorne Rooms. I hadn’t heard about them before, and when I found out it was an actual exhibit, it made my list of things to see one day. The way the magic was worked into the book was fun, and while I liked it, I also wished there had been a little more to it. There were some slow spots, and not everyone will like the details that were put into the book about the Thorne Rooms and how they looked.
I liked most of the characters. Jack and Ruthie were interesting to read about. I liked how Ruthie felt guilty about lying to their parents and sneaking around. She realized why it was wrong, even if the adventure of it all won her over into doing it anyhow. Mrs. McVitty was my next favorite character. She didn’t get a lot of book time until towards the end of things, but I’m hoping we get to see more of her in the next book.
I’m also super curious as to what that red bag does that she gave Ruthie. I’m guessing the 2nd book will center around that adventure.
If you’re interested in the Throne Rooms (I totally was!) you can find pictures of them on the Museum Website.