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The Root Cellar

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,282 ratings  ·  96 reviews
It looked like an ordinary root cellar. And if twelve-year-old Rose hadn't been so unhappy in her new home, where she'd been sent to live with unknown relatives, she probably would never have fled down the stairs to the root cellar in the first place. And if she hadn't, she never would have climbed up into another century, the world of the 1860s, and the chaos of Civil War ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 7th 1985 by Puffin Books (first published May 1st 1983)
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsTimeline by Michael CrichtonSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Best Time Travel Fiction
248th out of 1,089 books — 3,501 voters
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryThe Gathering by Kelley ArmstrongAnne of Avonlea by L.M. MontgomeryAnne of the Island by L.M. MontgomeryThe Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
YA Books Set in Canada
6th out of 106 books — 43 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,958)
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Lisa Vegan
Oct 26, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like time travel stories, orphan stories, adventure stories, historical fiction stories
This is another wonderful orphan story and time travel story.

It reminded me of many other books including Time At The Top, The Twins at Thatchem Quickett, A Long Way to Go, Homecoming, and The Secret Garden (mentioned in the book); all are books I’ve enjoyed.

I love that these people read!!!

There’s a wonderful family cat who doesn’t get enough page time, but is enjoyable when he’s around.

There are terrific descriptions of immediately post American Civil War circumstances for soldiers and other ci
Loved it!!! Reading this book was a truly delicious experience. Sometimes a reader just "clicks" with an author's style. I knew from the first few pages that I was smitten with Ms. Lunn's wordweaving and it was this, almost more than the story itself, that truly captivated me about this book.

But the story is a good one! The blending of history (War Between the States) and fantasy (a modern girl is able to travel from present-day to the 1860s via a magical root cellar) could have been a disaster-
This was my favorite book when I was twelve. I dug it out of the basement a few months ago and re-read it. This time, I still liked it, but thought it was a bit sappy at parts. Hence the four stars. My twelve-year-old self would have given it five stars. Still a great read. I'll pass it along to my unborn children.
Tammy  King Carlton
I read this book in elementary school, and remember really enjoying the idea that you could climb down into a root cellar and then climb out into the 1860's. I loved the whole theme that it doesn't matter when you come from, but only where you belong, especially when you are young and have lost your parents. I picked it up again, recently, out of nostalgia, and it brought back a lot of memories.
Apr 03, 2008 Hannah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: HALEY!
Hey Guys!!
I read this book almost last year and loved it!
If you like scary, (not too much of it is in this book but a little bit...) time traveling, History, and lots of imagination.... then read this book!
It was awesome. It is about a girl named Rose thats parents died and she lives with her grandma. When her grandma passes... she has to live with the dreaded aunt nan and uncle bob (i think...) and their houseful of boys.
She discovers that the house is very old and is sort of magical. (at least
This is one of my favorite books ever. Or was when I was 12. I just came across it by accident so decided to add it. My edition did not have pictures.
Not what I was expecting but was pleasantly surprised.
I really liked this book when I was a young(er) person.
Mostly because I loved it in books when female characters would disguise themselves as boys.
Drag drag drag omg.
Rose is a lonely and unhappy orphan who one day discovers an old root cellar, and finds herself in the 1860s with an important role to play in the Civil War . . .
I first read this in fifth grade, and it made enough of an impression on my that I sought it out after reading The Freedom Maze, which has a similar premise. Rose is a bit of a pain in the beginning, but I don't entirely blame her; she is 12, her grandmother (the only family she's ever know) just died, and she's been shuffled around other family members for a few months. Who wouldn't be kind of annoyed by life? The plot actually had me a bit worried about how Rose would get back to her own time, ...more
Some books are so good that when I discover them I wonder why no one else has written about them. This was one of them.

It's the story of a twelve-year-old girl whose parents died, who lived with her grandmother who dies and is put into the home of her father's sister in Canada. The transition is difficult for Rose. She finds the new life beyond anything she dreamed. She had been living with her grandmother in hotels, traveling and eating out for most of her meals. Suddenly, she is one in a famil
I think if I had read this book as a 12 year old, I might have enjoyed it. I really liked historical fiction at that age, especially with the time-travel aspect, and I think I could have empathized with the main character. Unfortunately, reading it for the first time in my (late) 20s, it was not such a good fit. I found Rose whiney and melodramatic, and found myself having very frustrated conversations at her in my head. I usually enjoy kids books, but I think this is just not one that translate ...more

[from my blog 'Reading in Winter']

I’m not sure what exactly drew me to this book. I had no desire to pick up my current read, The Blind Man of Seville, so I wandered around my home library and pulled The Root Cellar, by Janet Lunn, off the shelf and just started reading.

It really wasn’t what I had expected – not that I had heard of the book or really knew what it was about, aside from a root cellar and a young girl. Right when I thought I wasn’t going to be reading more books about time travel,

So far I have read that Rose has shifted/transported in the root cellar to Canada. In Canada she meets a boy named Will and a girl named Susan but when Rose shifts/transports again back home and than back to Canada again she was shocked by the 'time' she has been gone from Will and Susan more than ayear definatly. It was a cold afternoon that Will anounced to Rose and Susan he will be leaving to go join the northern stats army forces, susan is struck with a bundle of fear and saddness for him.Wi ...more
Douglas Larson
One of the best novels ever written. The depth and breadth of how the story delves into the lives of the characters, into the role of friendship, into the horrors of war, and into our sense of family is truly astounding. Very readable, engrossing and wonderful. This story is every bit as good as Joan Bauer's "Hope was Here". Its a completely different setting and told in a different way but powerful and compelling none the less.

The story is about a 12 year old orphan girl named Rose. Rose lived
"Timely Sacrifices for Friendship"

Slipping back and forth between the present (1960’s Canada) and
the past (American Civil War 1860’s) may sound exciting, but it offers more challenges and danger, as well as rewards, than the young protagonist ever imagined. Upon the death of her grandmother, twelve-year-old Rose, an orphan in the relative-shuffle, is sent to live on her aunt’s farm, where once again she does not fit in. Feeling miserable, knowing she does not belong there and lacking friends h
I found this book at the Good Will store...for 25 cents...Never heard of it...but was intrigued..The book came out of an "Elementary School"...which I found ODD...since this book seemed more to be written for YOUTH and even adults...It was voted the 1982 Canadian Library Association Children's Book of the Year Award. I really ENJOYED it! If you are looking for a good book for your good readers of "elementary" age or older...I would highly recommend it...Well written...

This is what the book is ab
i read this book back in elementary school, and i enjoyed reading it at the time.
the story follows this orphan girl named rose who is sent to live with relatives after the death of her grandmother. rose is something of a tomboy and doesn’t really have any friends, so doesn’t feel like she fits in when she arrives and spends a lot of time by herself. one of the places she likes to spend time in is a root cellar near the house, and one day she goes into it only to find herself transported back in
I was so engulfed in this book. I remember way back in the mid 90s while I read this I couldn't put it down, but my mother required me to join her on errands. So I brought the book with me, as I was nearing the end. I begged her to do her shopping while in the car I finished reading. She came back to me sitting in the car sobbing overcome with the ending of the book I cherished so deeply.
I got this book in 5th or 6th grade, and I vividly remember reading it while playing hooky from school, ensconced in the left side banquette of a local restaurant, then transported back in time with Rose. . . or so it half-seemed. How I longed for a root cellar to transport me anywhere but the present I was currently living. I can still feel the mix of the place I was and where the book took me. I have to reread it to get the full explanation of why I loved it so, but it's been over 25 years sin ...more
I remember reading this book in middle school after happening to stumble upon it in the library, and for years to come this book provided my basis for what I knew of the history of my own province and Nova Scotia. Definitely worth a read, even if the premise sounds a bit goofy.
Sadly I didn't find this book stood up to the standards which I remember. There was lots of almost local history, and time travel(yea), but the narration felt off, and Everyone seemed kind of selfish and mean. This reread was a sad disappointment, but I was glad I read it again anyway.
Michaela Mechikoff
The type of person for this novel would be anyone who likes civil war books with a twist of adventure and excitement. I loved this book! I gave it 5 stars. I thought the way the author incorperated time periods was very creative i liked the sense of adventure and a little mystery. I related to how she wanted to make her wrongs right in the end of the book. And i liked how the author shared a lesson of how even though you may like something and you can choose the easy way out oryou can correct yo ...more
Stefani Mcarthur
My favourite book of all time - read it for the first time as a preteen and still my favourite - I've probably read it at least 100 times
Cupof Tea
I'm pretty sure I read this book because when I saw the cover it triggered recognition. But it was probably 20 years ago, so...
This was my favorite book when I was 9-11ish years old! It holds special memories for me.
Ariel Toulouse
My twelve year old self really enjoyed this novel!
I had a hard time getting in to this one, but ended up liking it. It's a strange idea--a kid moves to Canada to live with an aunt and finds a time-traveling root cellar that takes her back to have a strange American Civil War adventure. Strangely dark in parts, and the character development is a bit sketchy. Not bad.
Donielle Johnson
this is my favourite book ever!
Nikki Vogel
This wasn't my cup of tea. I stopped halfway through.
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Janet was born Janet Louise Swoboda on December 28, 1928 in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A, moved to Vermont when she was two and lived there until she was ten when the family moved to the outskirts of New York City. She came to Canada in 1946 to go to Notre Dame College in Ottawa and then to Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. There she met and married Richard Lunn, a fellow student. She has lived in ...more
More about Janet Lunn...
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