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The Sixty-Eight Rooms (The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventures) Paperback – April 5, 2011


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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

MARIANNE MALONE is the mother of three grown children, a former art teacher, and the cofounder of the Campus School Middle School for Girls in Urbana, Illinois. She and her husband divide their time between Urbana and Washington, DC. This is her first novel. You can visit her Web site at MarianneMalone.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventures
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375857117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375857119
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I loved this book I am reading it to my 13 year old now.
david anderson
This is a heartwarming, good story that I really liked and I am sure it will be a hit with children because it is a magical, historical fun read.
C. Irish
Housed deep within the Art Institute of Chicago, they are a collection of sixty-eight eerily realistic miniature rooms.
M. Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 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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38 of 45 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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11 of 13 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lilacrose on May 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to my students for the last 20 years. Much to my shock this book has striking similarities with this one. Here is where I have my issue.

Children:
A boy and a girl are the central characters in both books.

Museum:
Mixed Up Files takes place in the Met. Museum of Art in New York and in this book the Art Institute.

Staying away from home:
Mixed Up Files-The children stay for a week, in this book the children stay overnight.

Food in pockets:
Mixed Up Files: There is a part in which the children make an issue out of stuffing/hiding food in various pockets of their clothing, the same happens in this book.

Eccentric older woman as a key figure in the story:
Mixed-Up Files: Mrs. Frankweiler an eccentric woman with lots of antiques in her home, with this book Mrs. McVittie an eccentric woman with lots of antiques in her shop.

Older woman helping young lady achieve her dreams
Mrs. Frankeiler helps Claudia, Mrs. McVittie helps Ruthie.

Central girl wanting to be special:
Claudia finds Angel to be such a person, and Ruthie sleeps in the Thorne rooms and has an adventure to feel special.

The museum quality/antique bed:
Claudia insists on sleeping in a very beautiful European bed in the Mixed Up Files, Ruthie sleeps in a very beautiful French bed in this book.

Getting "caught"
In the Mixed-Up Files Jamie walks out of the washroom after hiding and a janitor asks him where he came from. He replied, "My mother told me I came from heaven". In this book the children get caught sneaking out of the Thorn Rooms after closing and are asked where they came from.
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