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The Root Cellar

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,446 Ratings  ·  107 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. Wells11/22/63 by Stephen KingTimeline by Michael Crichton
Best Time Travel Fiction
245th out of 1,208 books — 3,897 voters
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryThe Space Between by Michelle L. TeichmanThe Gathering by Kelley ArmstrongAnne of Avonlea by L.M. MontgomeryAnne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
YA Books Set in Canada
8th out of 116 books — 60 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,301)
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Lisa Vegan
Oct 26, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Oct 21, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ya
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-
Dec 31, 2007 Salma rated it really liked it
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.
The Baking Bookworm
My Review: I read this book back when I was about 11 years old and I remember being utterly entranced by it as it transported me to different eras that, until then, I knew nothing about. Even after a few decades have passed I still vividly remember the images it invoked in me as I read it so I opted to read it again for my 2015 Reading Challenge.

This book has a lot going on for such a short book. It's a historical fiction read for children with some fantasy (hence the time travel) plus action an
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 it was amazing
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
Mar 13, 2015 Celeste rated it it was amazing
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.
Allison Garner
Sep 03, 2015 Allison Garner rated it it was amazing
The root cellar by Janet Lunn is an exciting story about a young girl who has to go live with her aunt nan and uncle bob when her grandma(who took care of her ever since her parents died)dies. when she gets to the house it is beat up and looks horrible to live in, a woman Mrs. morrisarry appears and asks what happened to her house. Mrs. morrisarry knows rose by name which kind of creeps rose out since she has never been there before. rose gets even more scared because Mrs. morrisarry "shifts" an ...more
Not what I was expecting but was pleasantly surprised.
Feb 01, 2016 Jaina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blogged
2.5 stars. This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

I feel like I would have liked this one a lot better if I'd read it for the first time when I was younger.

It's not so much that it's geared for younger kids (in fact, it's kind of too gruesome for little children), but that the plot feels sort of . . . wobbly. On one hand it's a really cool concept, and it imparts a lot of history without being too painful, but on the other it relies on unrealistic characters and events to carry
Aug 12, 2014 wrench rated it it was amazing
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 . . .
Mar 16, 2014 Amy! rated it liked it
Recommended to Amy! by: recommendations for GN discussion
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
Mar 17, 2014 Rusty rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-ya
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
This title was one of my all-time favourite childhood books. It was given to me by my Mom. I remember reading the blurb and thinking that it sounded kind of dull. History? Booooring! And then I started to read it and was proven completely and totally wrong. I loved it. I read it over and over again. I am happy (and relieved) to say that as an adult, I still loved it. I spent every available minute reading it this holiday weekend it and if I hadn't so many plans, I'm pretty sure that I would have ...more
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
Oct 14, 2011 Kristilyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-book

[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,

Jun 20, 2010 Isabella rated it really liked it
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
Sep 13, 2012 Douglas Larson rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 30, 2013 Gale rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
"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
Aug 07, 2012 Deborah rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2010 Elfdart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Darlene Wilson
Jul 29, 2015 Darlene Wilson rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 15, 2013 Blue rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-re-read
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
Jul 07, 2014 Jeri rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 04, 2014 elscorcho rated it really liked it
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.
Melissa Knowles
Mar 25, 2016 Melissa Knowles rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I read it in 5th grade and thought it was great then also! It took me years to remember the title, but I'm glad I did and finally was able to read it again. It's a cute story and real easy read!!
Michaela Mechikoff
Nov 05, 2013 Michaela Mechikoff rated it it was amazing
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...
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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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