On a field trip the the Art Institute of Chicago, Ruthie becomes fascinated by the Thorne Room exhibit, featuring miniature rooms created to look as they would during specific periods in history. Ruthie is not only drawn to the perfection of miniatures, but also feels a strange pull to the rooms. When she and her best friend, Jack, discover a magic key that allows Ruthie to shrink small enough she is thrilled! She explores all over the rooms, discovering she can not only look around the rooms, but she can go out into the entire world of the rooms' time period.
Ruthie and Jack experience Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials and medieval times, among others. Children interested in history or adventure stories will definitely find themselves falling into the story of Jack, Ruthie, and the Thorne Rooms. Pencil illustrations help the reader to visualize the rooms, the settings, and the fantasy aspects.
Being a bit critical, the writing wasn't as fantastic as the plot concept, but it was still a lot of fun. Some of the adventure parts came off as contrived and I didn't always care for the dialogue of Ruthie or Jack. I did, however, learn a whole lot! I had never heard of the Thorne Rooms before picking this one up and I know that next time I'm in Chicago, I'll definitely be visiting.
Fans of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwieler and The Borrowers will enjoy the story as well. A fun read aloud with the family and the perfect bridge to more books about art, history, and museums.
The Sixty-Eight Rooms