by First Mate Keira

Title: The Sixty-Eight Rooms
Author: Marianne Malone
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 265
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Ruthie is drawn to the famous Thorne Rooms at the Chicago’s Art Institute during a class fieldtrip. On the same trip her best friend, Jack, finds a gorgeous key. When Ruthie holds the key she begins to shrink and the two kids put two-and-two together. The key provides a way into the miniature world depicted by the multiple rooms. When Ruthie figures out how to shrink Jack too, the exploring commences in earnest and the pair must figure out how to navigate the world in a new way.

Why I started this book:

I checked the book out from the library after I saw it in a bookstore and thought it looked interesting.


  • The subplots were crafted fabulously and brought another dimension to the story. Jack’s mother worries about making a living as an artist. A security guard (previously famous photographer) mourns the loss of his best work. A shop owner reconnects to memories of her past. Historical figures find new endings.
  • How Jack and Ruthie constructed paths to get them around the museum and to different parts of the exhibit is both entertaining and clever.
  • I enjoyed the fight with the water bug/cockroach.
  • I liked that the two kids weren’t the first to explore the tiny world. That was very cool and also connected a lot of the subplots. I liked too how Jack and Ruthie saved some of the people they found in the world by remembering enough from history class to provide warnings.


  • The necessary contrivance of tricking the parental units into thinking the kids were places they were not. I dislike clueless parents or parents willing to be hoodwinked. I find it hard to believe, mostly because my own parents would never in a million years ignore the signs of mischief Jack and Ruthie gave off like flashing beacons.

Buy: The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Rating: 4 Stars

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