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The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Sixty-Eight Rooms #1)

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3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  2,939 Ratings  ·  552 Reviews
Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed in the Children’s Galleries of the Chicago Art Institute, they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms made in the 1930s by Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Each of the 68 rooms is designed in the style of a different historic period, and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on t ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Kathryn
Nov 10, 2010 Kathryn rated it liked it
Recommended to Kathryn by: Emily
Ah, so much promise... largely unfulfilled.

Ruthie is bored with her life, but becomes captivated by the Throne Rooms when her sixth grade class takes a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. Her friend Jack also appreciates the rooms and has a real sense of adventure. When they find a small key that magically shrinks Ruthie to five inches tall (the perfect height to explore the Throne Rooms), they devise a plan to hide out in the Art Institute all night so that they can go exploring. In add
...more
Vicki
Apr 05, 2010 Vicki rated it it was ok
This should have been totally stellar. I won't beat a dead horse here, the other reviews are saying that the prose is clunky, and they're exactly right. Other reviews are saying that the dialog is off, and they're exactly right. Most things people are saying about this are correct: the writing is very bad. I'm giving it two stars for imagination. I will not be recommending this book to any kids. I"ll let it find its own way. Because while it's true that crummy writing never stopped me from likin ...more
evelyn
Mar 01, 2010 evelyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: readin2010
this is going to be an unnecessarily long review, but the only reason i finished reading this book was because it kept giving me more reasons to want to rant about something.

i got the galley for this a few months ago. the owner of the bookstore gave it to me because she knew i was from chicago and thought i would like a book that takes place at the art institute. she was right, i was totally excited. i started reading it and had to stop 20 pages in because the prose, especially the dialogue, was
...more
Dan
Feb 07, 2012 Dan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-hate
Holy Boring Batman!

Our school district has this great (or could be great) idea: One District, One Book. The idea is the school district will give each family a copy of the same district-selected book and have all parents read the book to their kids. Could be fun, right? Except they keep choosing these horribly boring books! Last year it was The Doll People, about doll-house dolls that are really alive but have to not let the humans know. This year the book was The Sixty-Eight Rooms, about kids w
...more
Jen Petro-Roy
Feb 28, 2010 Jen Petro-Roy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, middle-grade
I was highly anticipating this book, as the concept of two eleven-year olds, Ruthie and Jack, who discover a mystery behind the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago is an intriguing premise. I was hoping this would be a good real-alike to either The 39 Clues or Blue Balliet's books. However, I found this book to be hopelessly derivative (even the cover screamed 'see how much like Chasing Vermeer' I am?), the characters to be fairly underdeveloped (especially the motivation of R ...more
Allegra
Jun 16, 2012 Allegra rated it it was amazing
I really liked The Sixty Eight Rooms because it is about a girl who find a magical key that has the power to make her shrink to five inches tall. Which is helpfull because in a museum there is an exibit with muniture rooms that were made to look like they were from different places in different years that are the perfect size for her to explore when she is shrukin. I think it would be really cool to be five inches tall and to get to experience being in a 1940's French bedroom, or a 1680's Englis ...more
Callie Rose Tyler
Jun 13, 2014 Callie Rose Tyler rated it it was ok
Just okay.

This book had a ton of potential but the author's writing left much to be desired.

As a Chicago-area native I have been to the Chicago Art Institute on several occasions and the Throne rooms continue to be one of my favorite exhibits (although I prefer Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle at the Museum of Science and Industry).



I love Thumbelina, Honey I shrunk the Kids, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler so when I saw that this book was about kids shrinking down to miniat
...more
Kelly
Feb 06, 2010 Kelly rated it liked it
(2.5 stars) The Sixty-Eight Rooms has a really fun premise. Sixth-graders Ruthie and Jack visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, and discover a magic key that enables them to shrink to doll-size and explore the rooms up close. It turns out that each room opens onto a real landscape from the time it portrays, complete with real people that Ruthie and Jack can interact with. I thought this was a great concept, and I remember thinking that Marianne Malone should set a seq ...more
Shannon
Feb 13, 2010 Shannon rated it liked it
This was a fun, light read. It was sort of a From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg meets the Borrowers The Borrowers (The Borrowers #1) by Mary Norton meets Mary Pope Osborne's Mary Pope Osborne Magic Tree House series.
Ruthie and Jack go on a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, and while there find a key that allows them to shrink and enter the Thorne Room Miniatures. While there, they find out they are not the first to enter these rooms...
I found the Thorne Rooms so fascinating, I had to look them up online. Maybe someday I'll get to
...more
Tabitha Olson
May 09, 2010 Tabitha Olson rated it liked it
Shelves: recent-reviews
I'm from Chicago and have visited the Thorne Rooms many times (and love them), so I was immediately drawn to this book. It started out a bit slow for my tastes, but I soon realized that the intended audience for this book is not me. It's younger middle grade, or for kids who scare easily. Once I adjusted to that, I really enjoyed the story.

I do think that the author could have focused a bit more on the rooms themselves, and less on the logistics and details of how the kids get in and out of the
...more
Crowinator
This book was a huge disappointment. I thought the writing was dull and the plot clunky and over-focused on mundane details (a good author knows to just show the interesting and/or relevant details of their character's lives, not go through every day step-by-step). Despite so many different side plots, the pacing was incredibly slow. I mostly kept reading so that I could find out how the magic of the key and the miniature rooms worked, and unless I missed something huge, there wasn't a satisfact ...more
Lori
Feb 28, 2016 Lori rated it really liked it
An interesting kids book that would be good to get a child interested in going to the Art Institute in Chicago.
Carolyn
Nov 04, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
CHICAGO!!!
David Lopez
Oct 29, 2016 David Lopez rated it really liked it
***spoiler alert*** Imagine if you found a magic key that only granted girls wishes. The genre of this book is fantasy. I liked this book because it left me with amazement after every page.

Getting up in the morning is always a challenge for Ruthie because she has a boring regular life. Ruthie lives with her sister Claire and her two parents, Ruthie goes to a private school and has one best friend and his name is Jack. Ruthie thinks nothing exciting will ever happen to her until her sixth-grade
...more
Cristal Banegas
Oct 30, 2016 Cristal Banegas rated it liked it
The Sixty-Eight Rooms is a book about two kids shrinking themselves to fit into the tiny life-like rooms that are found at the Art Institute of Chicago. The genre this book is in is adventure, mystery and magic. I think this book was very well written but, the writing and dialogue was very dull.

The characters are 6th graders and the language that is used isn't very accurate and isn't something 6th graders would necessarily say on a daily basis. If the book took place in an earlier time, then it
...more
Hannah
Feb 12, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Have you ever done something spectacular, so spectacular that it made you believe that it did not really happen? Have you ever believed in magic, even in the slightest bit? Ruthie and Jack in the book The 68 Rooms by Marianne Malone had an experience that did just that.

The main characters in this book are very relatable and interesting. Ruthie, is a good, hard working student that feels that life is so boring for her and nothing ever unique and fun happens to her. Jack, an adventurous city kid,
...more
Caitlin
Aug 01, 2011 Caitlin rated it it was ok
I would rate this one 2.5 stars if I could. When I first head about The Sixty-Eight Rooms, I was excited and intrigued by the book's premise. Having now read it, I am feeling a bit disappointed by the book's overall lack of 'oomph.' Twelve-year-old friends Ruthie and Jack visit the miniature Thorne Rooms on a class trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. Ruthie is immediately entranced by the magic of the rooms. Imagine her surprise when she and Jack discover a key that allows them to explore thes ...more
Shannon
Aug 09, 2010 Shannon rated it it was ok
Shelves: youngadult
Do you like art? Is a museum your favorite way to spend a free afternoon? If so, The Sixty-Eight Rooms will likely appeal to you. The concept certainly appealed to me: two sixth graders visit The Art Institute of Chicago on a field trip and the Thorne Rooms (featuring sixty eight miniature rooms) capture their imaginations.

I enjoyed following Ruthie and Jack into the miniature rooms, but found the book to be weaker overall than I'd like. Malone seemed very intent on making sure she was consisten
...more
Angela
Dec 01, 2009 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
There is a lot of sales potential for Chicago booksellers and loads of appeal in this new middle-grade novel. Everything is in place for a local bestseller:
--It takes place in Chicago.
--At the Art Institute.
--Primarily in the Thorne Miniature Rooms.
--It is a magical, time-travel adventure.
--It has characters of both genders.

BUT, something(s)just didn't work for me. The dialog felt funny and the story seemed oddly paced, or too spelled-out. While I loved the concept, it didn't play out as well as
...more
Rachel
Nov 25, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
Have you ever been so enthralled by something, a book, a movie, a piece of artwork; that it magic pulls you in, you can imagine yourself living inside it, as a character in the story? Ruthie has experienced the same thing. She is generally disappointed in her boring life, her small, nothing special apartment, her cramped, shared bedroom, and herself. On a school field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago she finally sees something special. The Thorne Rooms, a set of 68 miniature rooms set into t ...more
Emily
Mar 31, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok
After reading the plot summary, I was so excited to read this book. It was disappointing. Great concept, and exactly the kind of story I would have loved as a kid, but just not well executed. It felt to me very much like what it was: a grown-up trying to write for children. Something about it was very forced. Malone set things up nicely, but the follow through fell short. The rooms lead into the past! How cool! But Jack and Ruthie only go to two time periods, and then only stay long enough to ha ...more
Samantha
After seeing the Thorne Miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago on a field trip Ruthie falls in love. She reads everything she can get her hands on and revisits them soon after her initial visit.

The plot thickens when she comes into possession of a mysterious key and the magic that comes with it: including being able to shrink down to a height of 5" and enjoy the Thorne rooms from the inside!

The description of the Thorne rooms and the enchanting spell they cast over Ruthie makes for an e
...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I got no one but myself to blame on this one. I ignored all the reviews talking about the wooden writing and clunky dialogue and flat characters because the premise sounded cool, and I rationalized that I'm often in the minority in books - often being less than impressed with many a book with rave reviews - and figuring it could work in reverse, too.

Well, it didn't.

Go read the other two star reviews, who encapsulate the issues with the book. About how everything is way too easy, and obvious, an
...more
Clare and Tammy - Teachers for Teachers
This book is about two kids who find a magical key and enter The Thorne Rooms (miniature historical doll houses) at the Art Institute in Chicago. This book reminded us of The Littles and The Magic Tree House Series. The characters face all types of challenges when they shrink to a miniature size. While the characters are in the Thorne rooms they go back in time and meet a few historical characters. When we introduce this series to readers they may need some background knowledge about the French ...more
Stephanie
Aug 25, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it
A good deal below my regular reading level, but when I learned there was a teen/children's book about the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute, I had to grab it. An engaging story with a lot of description about the wonderful rooms, and a really neat imagining of a kid's "what if?" The story had enough conflict to propel it forward without ever getting too dramatic, and the main focus was always on the rooms themselves. I could tell the author spent a lot of time and research, and the story she spu ...more
Debbie
Sep 05, 2014 Debbie rated it liked it
Okay book, imaginative and captivating for an eight year old. It is a juvenile book, along with The Borrowers and other books about little people. If you've ever seen museum-quality doll houses and furnishings, it's not hard to imagine shrinking down to fit in those rooms. The twist comes when they step outside the rooms and meet people from the past. Predictable, but cute for young readers. Good book to read with my grand kids someday.
Laura
Apr 28, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
This was a cute book, and I loved the premise. I always wanted to shrink to the size of my Barbies when I was a child and live among their cool stuff. This book is about children who shrink and go in the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, which would be pretty darn cool.

It has the required children adventure with a roach (gross!) and shows readers the importance of friendship and helping your friends out. A fun read, overall.
Tara Schaafsma
Mar 03, 2016 Tara Schaafsma rated it liked it
This was ok. I am not the target audience. My daughter is reading it next, and I am interested in hearing what she thinks. Writing was ok, story was good but not riveting. I liked the idea that it was about the little houses at the art museum here in Chicago. We love that display, and it was a cool idea to make a story of it.
☺Trish
Apr 28, 2015 ☺Trish rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this fantasy story immensely! Reading The Sixty-Eight Rooms definitely made me interested in finding out more about the Thorne miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago!
Three stars for Ms. Malone's story plus a bonus star for making me want to learn more! ;)
Heather
Jun 28, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
Fantasy-mystery lovers may like this, but for me the story really never went anywhere. Lots of shrinking/growing descriptions for a book that isn't very long and too many unanswered questions for my taste (but that is one of the lessons of the book).
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“THEY WALKED BACK ALONG THE ledge to room E22 and found their own clothes where they had left them. Ruthie stayed in the room to change and Jack went out to the corridor. As she was bending down to tie her shoes, she heard Jack call her name insistently. “I’ll be there in a sec—let me get my shoes on,” she called back to him. He can” 1 likes
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