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

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,551 ratings  ·  387 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
Sep 29, 2011 Kathryn rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Jen Petro-Roy
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
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
Kelly
(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
Dan
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
Shannon
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 meets the Borrowers The Borrowers (The Borrowers #1) 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
Emily
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
Angela
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
Caitlin
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
Rachel
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
Hannah
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
Shannon
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
c.o.lleen ± (... never stop fighting) ±
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
Tabitha Olson
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
Stephanie
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
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
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
MrsK Books
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

Since I did not grow up in Chicago, I never heard of the Thorne Rooms. Have you?

This book grabbed my attention the minute I saw the title. Once off the shelf and into my hands, I realized this book would be a miniature doll house adventure. I always wanted my own doll house, I tried to build one for my daughter, and I am not talking about one made of plastics. Obviously this book was going to come home with me... and so my adventure began.

On a field trip t...more
Laura
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.
Kirstin
I was so excited to get this book to read with Ben when I heard an interview with the author on NPR last fall. The story is set at the Art Institute here in Chicago, and the premise of the book is that the main characters find a key that allows them to shrink in size to enter the Thorne Rooms and become part of the period of history each room represents. Great premise. And since we had just visited the Thorne rooms for the first time, I thought we'd both love the book, and it would inspire anoth...more
Dora
Okay, I get it. Cute story, cute characters. I thought that the books were well-written, and I would like to read more of Malone's books- if they have nothing to do with magic. I mean, these kids find a magic key, and it makes them shrink to 5 inches tall, and they're all like, "Cool! Let's use this magical shrinking key to explore the tiny rooms! This is not abnormal at all!" Really??! I would be going insane at that point. That lost the book a star in the rating. Also, nothing HAPPENS in this...more
Heather
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).
Jacob
I love how this book takes place in Chicago, since I'm from Chicago. I never really knew much about the Thorne Rooms because I'd only seen them once before. Because of this book, the rooms seem more interesting to me. If only that key existed...
Hailey
There were some fun ideas in this book, but they weren't very developed and I wasn't really drawn to finish the book.

I read this book with my son because it was a "whole-school read." He brought up the fact that the main characters lie (a few times) and I'm not a real hardliner, but it does seem distracting to me.

When the two friends go into the rooms their adventures are brief and unfulfilling. Several times the plot wraps up too nicely.

The read does make me want to take a trip downtown to vi...more
Saba
it was a great book that makes me want to visit all the rooms in the art museum. i hope there is a sequel!
Addison Children
The magic of the Thorne rooms is revealed here. Jack and Ruthie find a key that magically shrinks Ruthie and anyone or thing that she is holding to the scale of the Thorne rooms. With a little theft and kanoodling, Ruthie and Jack explore the famous rooms after the Art Institute closes. SPOILER ALERT I personally think meeting period people while travelling outside the rooms stretches believability too far even for fantasy/sci fi, but I guess wandering small in empty rooms was too dull. Is the m...more
Japhy Holt
It was an amazing,magical,well written,interesting,can't put it down book!!!
Katharine Ott
The true-life setting of 68 miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago is so ripe for adventure that it’s surprising someone has not taken advantage of the opportunity sooner. Having loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and even Night at the Museum (who knew it was a book too, by Milan Trenc) I looked forward to reading this one. Overall the book carried along with enough mystery and adventure to interest young readers, but a few aspects detracted from the journey. The...more
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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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