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The Sixty-Eight Rooms (The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventures) Kindle Edition

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Length: 280 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. Grades 4-6. --Ilene Cooper

About the Author

Marianne Malone is the cofounder of the Campus School Middle School for Girls in Urbana, Illinois. She and her husband divide their time between Urbana and Washington, D.C. For Teacher's Guides (including common core tie-ins) and more, visit

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1008 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (February 12, 2010)
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4D6K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,353 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Fishburn VINE VOICE on February 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is *exactly* the kind of book I would have loved when I was in 3rd or 4th grade! Right now, I'm reading it aloud to a second-grader and he is totally caught up in the story.
Marianne Malone wraps up adventure, art, history, and mystery in a perfectly fun package. The Sixty-Eight Rooms addresses many types of friendship - that of Ruthie & Jack, that of Mr. Bell and Lydia, Ruthie's dad & Mrs. McVittie, Ruthie's mum and her mentor professor. It addresses adversity - Jack & his mum Lydia may have to leave a wonderfully concocted artist's loft if Lydia doesn't sell a few of her paintings to pay the rent. Loss is a theme - when Ruthie's mum's mentor/professor dies, and when we learn that Mr. Bell's best work (he's a photographer) disappeared years ago. And peripherally, who isn't fascinated with miniatures?
The children plan a winter weekend of exploration in the Thorne Rooms in the museum at the Art Institute in Chicago after it closes - their planning is thorough and creative; while they understand that what they are doing is not kosher, the lure of adventure is simply irresistible. I think the book is oh so realistic in all it conveys and portrays of the life and world of modern urban kids, which is a perfect counterpoint to the magic of the key, and the mystery of the exquisite, historically accurate, and totally real Thorne Rooms.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Marianne Malone's The Sixty-Eight Rooms is a YA fantasy novel with a great premise. The problem is she seems to have forgotten to put the fantasy in.

The book imagines two sixth-graders, Ruthie and Jack, who discover a magical key on a field trip to the Thorne Rooms in the Art Institute of Chicago, a famous collection of 68 miniature rooms set in various time periods. The key shrinks Ruthie and Jack down to a size where they can enter the rooms and explore. Even better, it turns out that beyond the room is the entire world of the room's setting: France just a few years before the French Revolution, Mass. during the Salem Witch Trials, etc. The book moves back and forth between Ruthie and Jack's adventures in these worlds, their attempts to sneak into the Art Institute in order to enter the rooms, and their quest in the real world to find out the mysteries behind the Thorne Rooms--who created them and how, where the key came from, how some objects from the Thorne Rooms appear to have entered the real world, and so on. Meanwhile, Jack's mother has some real-world issues of her own to deal with as she's having a hard time selling her artwork and the two of them (Jack and his mom) are in danger of being evicted.

As mentioned, the premise is simply wonderful, combining time travel and Borrowers-type "small-person" adventuring. The problem is, we see almost no adventuring in the worlds outside the Thorne Rooms. We only pop into two of the 68 and for a matter of only a few pages--in total the Thorne Room adventures add up to only about 10 percent of the book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By LS on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read this with my 10 year old 4th grader daughter. We got through about 2/3rds before I finally gave up making her read it with me. I think both boys are girls would feel the same about this book. For the most part kids that are very interested and have been to the Art Institute and seen the rooms or are very interested in doll houses might enjoy this book. For the rest it is probably too slow of a pace to keep most kids in the target age range interested.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pacey1927 VINE VOICE on December 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The idea behind "The Sixty-Eight Rooms" is positively delightful. Two children who are enamoured by the Thorne Rooms, miniature rooms, at the museum find themselves magically able to get small and get inside the rooms. These are some inventive kids and they do a great job of working everything out so that the adults aren't suspicious.

The first, and most glaring, problem was that Jack and Ruthie did not act their supposed ages. They were supposed to be in 6th grade which really means the kids are around 11 or 12. They talk and act much younger than that. Their views of the world would match a much younger person. Then their physical actions are those of much older kids. They are allowed to go downtown in Chicago by themselves...this includes going into and touring the museum. The parents hardly blink. I have an 11 year old and I would hard pressed to let him play in the next neighborhood over without an adult with him. So in the context of this book, extremely naive and innocent for their age 11 or 12 year olds are allowed to wanter the city of Chicago by themselves. Nope. No way. Credibility is lost right away.

The other thing thing that didn't work for me is that every character we meet in the book somehow is able to help them in their quest. Maybe this is just tight writing, but I just felt each step of the problem was too easy to solve. Again this may be just great for the younger book readers out there, but it just doesn't feel true.

The depictions of the miniature rooms and the historical travels were impressive and very cute and fun. I am amazed at the true details the author has written about. She obviously has a great handle on her subject matter and it really comes through in the book.
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