Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Root Cellar” as Want to Read:
The Root Cellar
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Root Cellar

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,690 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Twelve-year-old orphan Rose, sent to live with unknown relatives on a farm in Canada, ventures into her aunt's root cellar and finds herself making friends with people who lived on the farm more than a century earlier.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 2nd 1985 by Puffin Books (first published May 1st 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Root Cellar, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Root Cellar

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Lisa Vegan
Nov 26, 2007 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
Sep 23, 2010 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-
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this story when it first was published.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan
Shelves: orphan-stories
Rose, twice orphaned goes to live with her Aunt, Uncle and cousins. Rose is suffering from loss and struggles to adjust to her new life. Feeling she doesn't fit in she finds she can travel to the past and has an adventure and journey during the civil war. We enjoyed the concluding chapter and found it moving and philosophical of the feelings of lives lived in a house over different generations.
Laurie • 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
Dec 31, 2007 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.
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.
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 . . .
Loved this! Excellent character development and descriptive writing very effectively drew me into the scenes. Very engaging, and I will be seeking out more from this author!
Apr 03, 2008 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
Not what I was expecting but was pleasantly surprised.
May 23, 2011 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.
Mar 13, 2015 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.
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this for school way back in 2009, it was the first book I finished cover to cover. I'll always have a soft spot for it in my heart. But it honestly wasn't as great to read it again. I felt more entranced by it the first time I read it. But I guess it is because it is an older read and I'm more into the YA-New Adult rom/coms
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read this book for school, and honestly it wasn't that good. The plot had some loopholes and the characters weren't that great. It's not the worst book for an assigned reading book, but wouldn't recommend for entertainment reading. 2 stars.
Katina stewart
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this when it came out and I was a young girl. I forgot the main direction of the story but I remembered liking it.
It was a good one to re-read. Time travel to the time of the American Civil War.
It's a story about finding your place in a world that is changing.
Good for ages 12 and up.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My first time reading this in 20-25 years. Chock full of action, interesting characters, authentic emotion (fear, anger, insecurity, love, humour), as well as loads of historical facts. This book is a YA masterpiece that lives and breathes history.
Jun 08, 2010 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
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Canadian classic of the 80s that I missed growing up, which my book club decided to read (or re-read in some cases) as their inaugural book. I didn't fall into raptures over this YA novel the way my fellow book club members who read this as a kid did, but it was a beautiful time travel adventure full of survival, budgeting, and accessible history - a classic combination for children who love to read and the adults they grow into.

A fanciful suggestion: read this in November or December as there
Jaina Rose
Jan 11, 2016 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
Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)

[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,

Mar 30, 2013 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
Douglas Larson
Feb 22, 2012 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
Allison Garner
Sep 03, 2015 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
Aug 07, 2012 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 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
Jul 15, 2013 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
Michaela Mechikoff
Oct 01, 2013 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
Mar 15, 2014 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 15, 2014 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • A Handful of Time
  • From Anna
  • Who Is Frances Rain?
  • Underground to Canada
  • The Third Magic
  • Booky: A trilogy
  • Another Shore
  • Hero of Lesser Causes
  • Search of the Moon King's Daughter
  • Fog Magic
  • Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang
  • Time at the Top
  • I Want to Go Home!
  • A Season for Miracles
  • Alligator Pie (Collector's Edition)
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

Young Adult Deals

  • Beneath the Shine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Time's Divide (The Chronos Files, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Greensleeves
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Gilded (Gilded, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Infinity Lost (The Infinity Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Timebound (The Chronos Files, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Keeping You a Secret
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Queen's Poisoner (Kingfountain, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Trusting You & Other Lies
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Touch of Eternity (The Curse #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Rider
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Traitor's Kiss (The Traitor's Circle, #1)
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Flush
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Dreadnought (Nemesis, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A Totally Awkward Love Story
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Fire Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Just a Drop of Water
    $7.99 $1.99
  • One Moment
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Kissing Max Holden
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
    $16.99 $1.99
  • A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Silvern (Gilded #2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Some Fine Day
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Mystic (Mystic, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99