The Velvet Room
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The Velvet Room

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,226 ratings  ·  200 reviews
Robin was always "wandering off" (her mother's words) to get away from the confusion she felt inside her. It was not until Robin's father found a permanent job at the McCurdy ranch, after three years as a migrant worker, that Robin had a place to wander to. As time went by the Velvet Room became more and more of a haven for her--a place to read and dream, a place to bury o...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Yearling Books (first published 1965)
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Diana Hanson
I remember running my hands across a shelf of books in the library, it was away from the area that i normally looked. I wanted to find something different and i had pulled out a bright yellow book, but then beside it was a faded copy of The Velvet Room and i took that instead. I'm glad i did, its a wonderful book. It's the type of book that even if you can't remember it exactly you'll never forget the feeling it gave you. I don't own it but i can go back to that musty magical room anytime i want...more
Mira
It was twenty years ago, that I read the book.
And even though I can't remember all the details,
this one stuck with me for a long time.
I remember that it was my favorite.
the cover of the used paperback was old and weathered,
but it all the more added to the mysterious allure of the book.
Everytime I read it,
it almost had a therapeutic effect on me.
I probably didn't even understand all the story considering I was eight when I first read it.
But that feeling..
almost as if I were also inside that r...more
Joanne Moyer
The Velvet Room is one of my favorite childhood books which I'm glad to say, 40+ years later, is still a favorite. It's maybe a different story when reading it through adult eyes but the basic reasons I loved it at 10 are still there~ a good story about a family going through a rough time, a young girl about the age I was when I first read it who loves books and reading as I did then and now, who is trying to adjust to a new life with her family and the Velvet Room itself~ a turret window that c...more
Ryan
Its interesting to re-read books when you are an adult that you remember being important when you were young. Difficult to identify exactly WHAT made it so important because, of course, you were young and now you have all this "perspective" on things.

I suspect what touched me about this book then - and probably about her others - was the longing for "home", a special, stable and safe place. Its not as if I didn't have a home, but I never had a particular connection to a place. I believed I was P...more
Bonita
I first read this book in grade 5 for a class project. I remember it being one of the last books left on the shelf to choose from, and it was one of the biggest ones, and it didn't have the most appealing cover, but I figured the description made it seem better than anything else left on the shelf (I was one of the last students to choose a book). This novel ended up being burned into my memory, as one of the best I had read as a child. The story is about a little girl living on a plantation tha...more
Cheryl in CC NV
I must've read this book four or five times when I was a child. I wanted so badly to find my own haven - in fact I still do. Nothing else really matters. Re-reading this a few years ago I see it's about a lot more than the room, and it's interesting to compare it to Blue Willow and the Little House books, other favorites from my childhood. From all those (and others) I learned that family, access to books, and a sense of self-worth are much more valuable than material objects like pretty clothes...more
Alyss
This is the only book that I have kept with me since I was a kid—it went to college with me, my first apartment, made the trip out west and is still on my shelf as I write this. I read it until it started to fall apart, and I had to repair the binding (with elmer's glue, don't tell Elizabeth). I haven't read it in years, but I like knowing I have the option. It has always been one of my favorites and led me to my favorite (as a child) author, Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
Myles
I've been trying to get rid of things lately. While unloading donations to a thrift store I took a glance at a stand of children's books. I immediately spied the distinctive Dell-Yearling frame and the two-tone lettering of a Zilpha Keatley Snyder book, and one I hadn't read.

When I lifted it out of its pocket and saw how shabby it was I almost put it down, but when I flipped through the pages with my thumb I saw a name written inside the front cover in clumsy loops of pencil lead.

Myles.

Now, my n...more
Eileen
This was one of the favorite books I ever read as a child. I just wanted to see what it was that fascinated me so much about it. And I think I am seeing it. I love the girl in the middle of the family, trying to get through hard circumstances, and she keeps running away to a magical place. I'm only about half way through it so far, but I remember how wonderful it is.

Yes, now I'm finished and I loved this book--still. It was amazing how some of the points made by the characters in the book are ju...more
booklady
Apr 05, 2010 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to booklady by: Morning Star
Very enjoyable Depression era story of a non-Okie family who nevertheless are forced to take to the road and live as migrant workers in their Model T after the father becomes ill and they lose everything. As the book opens, they are settling in a two room shack along the coast of California. Although far from ideal, it offers the opportunity to unpack and maybe even go to school, a prospect which appeals to middle daughter, Robin Williams, the protagonist.

Robin is the classic curious child, pron...more
Tressa
Jan 07, 2009 Tressa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young girls
Shelves: teen
This was my absolute favorite book when I was a kid. I picked it up at some yard sale and it became a treasured book. Sadly, I've lost it over the years but am going to try to find it again.

The characters are fully fleshed and very human. Robin, who lived with pride and shame at the same time because of her family's nomad lifestyle; her father who does his best to support his family and give them what he thinks they need, not what they want; Gwen, a rich girl we expect to be cruel and snobbish,...more
Susann
Still, and always, my favorite Zilpha Keatley Snyder book. It's also my favorite Dust Bowl novel, even though Robin is adamant that she and her family members are not Okies. When I first stumbled upon this in my elementary school media center, I couldn't believe my luck in finding a book with an historical setting, a romantic mystery, and a gorgeous, velvet-clad room with a tower and overflowing book shelves.

Along with this winning combination of ingredients, ZKS also gives Robin some difficult...more
Tracie
I probably would have loved this book as a child. Robin's family has hit hard times during the dust bowl. Her father has been ill and lost his job leaving the family to wander around in their Model-T looking for work. Things seem to look up when they find a place picking fruit at the Las Palmeras ranch though the physical labor is hard on their father. The kids find some stability, including school, and friends and Robin find a special secret place she comes to love - the velvet room.
Allyson
I read this book as a youngster and really enjoyed it. A good friend loaned me her copy and I just read it again. I still love it! It's jr. high level reading, but sometimes I like to "go back." What can I say? I love good children's books!
Alissa Bach
Twelve-year-old Robin is always getting in trouble for "wandering off," but can you blame her for trying to escape reality? A few years earlier, Robin's family lost nearly everything thanks to the Depression and, since, have become traveling workers, moving from seasonal job to seasonal job and never establishing the roots Robin so desperately needs. This is why Robin never allowed herself to feel "at home" anywhere. At first the latest stop at Las Palmeras Ranch seems no different, but that soo...more
Elinor  Loredan
I really appreciate Snyder's ability to choose just the right words so that it is very easy for me to visualize everything in this book. The two things that most appeal to me in the story are the setting of the old empty mansion and the sympathy with Robin's urge to 'get away' and find places of beauty and peace.

The Velvet Room itself is lovely, of course-how I wish I had one like it!. However, I think there could be more of it in the story, showing Robin inside it reading or dreaming. It's cle...more
Katherine
Many readers consider this their all-time favorite book as a child. I can understand why. It addresses some important universal issues of childhood, like figuring out the importance of your place in family and community, how to deal with the fear and insecurity of changing situations, and coming to grips with your wants & needs versus the wants & needs of others. These issues are explored in a realistic but very fulfilling way in this wonderful, satisfying story. And what book-lover coul...more
Emily
This is one of those books that I read as a child and held dear in my memories although I was never quite sure why. Last year, the public library had this book on the book sale cart and I snatched it up immediately, loathe to let the book go. It sat on my bookshelf waiting to be read again by someone. Last week, I decided to pick it up. I was afraid the book would be as dear after reading it as an adult, but as you can tell by the 5 stars, that was not the case. This book is as magical to me now...more
D.C. Sheehan
I purchased this book as part of one of those book clubs at school. Others in the class sneered that it was a 'girl's book' but I didn't care. Once I saw that evocative cover and read the story summar I knew I would love it. And I did.

I still have this same paperback edition, I could never part with it. It's very worn, not just from my reading but from the years my schoolteacher sister borrowed it so she could pass it around her students.

The story is quite small, girl sneaks off to a secret room...more
puck
Aug 14, 2007 puck rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in the dust bowl, class, disaffected youth.
this is a complete departure from my expectations of this author, but it's still intriguing. it's perhaps the first dust bowl book i've read since steinbeck, and it's from the perspective of the oldest daughter who has a tendency of detaching. it was first published in '65, and i think that it shines an interesting light on the growth of the teenager, although at the same time i don't think that was at all intended.

so, yes. i feel like this story has a lot more going on than maybe it can hold, b...more
Michelle
I discovered this book at my grandparent's house when I was a kid. They had a basement closet that was full of treasures (airplane models, games, a bookshelf, and sleeping bags), and every time I visited, I would "check out" books from them. I read The Velvet Room a few times this way.

I didn't remember the story very well, but knew that I had really liked it. And rereading, I remembered why--the velvet room is Robin's secret, cozy and safe place where she goes to read and think and to escape fr...more
Phoenix
This was one of my favorite books when I was young. It's about a girl who finds a secret. It's important that this girl has a secret, b/c she doesn't have much else in the world. Her family is very transient and they don't have many possessions, and none of them individually get much attention. For instance, the youngest family member takes on odd behaviors in order to draw attention to himself, such as laying beneath or atop pieces of furniture all of the time.

The main character discovers somet...more
Roberta
In an effort to recapture my youth I reread "The Velvet Room" and I liked it as much now as I did then. Robin's family falls on hard times in the 1930's and end up working on an apricot farm in CA. She discovers the velvet room in the deserted home of the landowner, becomes friends with his daughter, and ultimately saves Las Palmeras from being burned to the ground by the foreman's son. Again, a case where children's literature of yearterday is so much better written than today's adult fiction.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
An acquaintance recently asked for recommendations for a young relative. I was thinking back to what I was reading around the age range she specified, and remembered this. Upon re-read: I can see why I liked it. Some aspects of it are a bit troubling, though, like the perception of Dust Bowl refugees. (Not going into detail because I'm trying to avoid spoilers.

Incidentally, the edition I read has this cover, but it was first published in 1965.
Gail
I loved this book as a child. I searched for it as an adult. It's been on my bookshelf for years and finally decided it was time to read it again.

I fell in love with the story just like I did as a child. Robin, Bridget, Gwen all were my friends too. I wanted nothing more than to find my own hidden library with velvet curtains and window seats.

When I first read this I was Robin. Now, while not even close to Bridget's age, I recognized myself in that character too. This book reminded me of many...more
Shawn
This book was recommended as an older book that made a long lasting impression on women who are readers. The setting of the California ranch with the hidden/closed reading room in the round tower is reminiscent of a place a young girl would love to lose herself in whatever generation you may come from! IT is well written realistic fiction.
Becky
I read this book when I was younger and remembered I loved it. When I found it at a used library book sale, I bought it. It takes place during the Depression and the author really captures the bleakness of the Dust Bowl in comparison to the escapism in the Velvet Room. It was really fun to reread it again after all these years.
Melissa
Really enjoyed this. Fabulous old house! Old family mystery! Girl who loves to read!
But only 3 stars because I saw all of the plot twists a mile away. Still a delightful read and a reminder of how much I enjoyed ZKS as a kid (now if I can just remember the name of the ZKS book I read over and over. . .)
Mrs. Riding
When I needed another book to read my dear friend from elementary school reminded me of her favorite book from those days, so finding it on Oyster, I jumped in. Ah, here it was, a book that also highly influenced my own writing of those days when I wrote profusely. It all came back to me, just as the feelings of peace and comfort that Robin found, I remembered from this wonderful book. Just as excited as finding an old friend, I found new dimension in my reunion with Robin and her family and fri...more
Jessica
The first book I ever got to buy( 5th grade). I have my original copy. I always dreamed of having a place that was mine. I also had deep sympathy for migrant workers since reading this and Lois Lensky books.

The description of picking peaches has never left my mind.
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The recipient of three Newbery Honor Book awards for "The Egypt Game", "The Headless Cupid" and "The Witches of Worm", Zilpha Keatley Snyder has been writing books for children since 1964 when her first book, "A Season of Ponies", was published. Since that time she has completed 43 books, mostly for children aged 9 to 13, but also including two books for young adults, four picture books for younge...more
More about Zilpha Keatley Snyder...
The Egypt Game (Game, #1) The Headless Cupid (Stanley Family, #1) The Witches of Worm The Changeling The Gypsy Game (Game, #2)

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