From the Borrowers to Stuart Little, children’s stories of tiny people coping in a regular sized world abound. In this case, regular sized children magically shrink and go places only someone tiny could go. What if you discovered that others had done so before you? What if you could change history?
The Thorne Rooms are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms at the Chicago Art Institute which were made in the 1930s. Each of the 68 rooms is designed in the style of a different historic period and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. In The Sixty-eight Rooms, Ruthie and Jack are able to shrink and wander through the Thorne rooms. When they shrink, the painted murals outside of each room turn into actual landscapes with doors opening into the time period the room reflects. Each room is filled with appropriate clothing for Ruthie and Jack to use, although walking in a suit of armor definitely takes some practice! Even with the right clothes, it is challenging for Ruthie and Jack to blend into 18th century France and 17th century Salem where they narrowly escape a mob during the Salem witch trials!
While this book was a bit heavy handed from an adult perspective, my 9 and 5 year-olds couldn’t put it down. We listened to it as an audio book and they didn’t want to leave the car…If you’re planning a trip to Chicago with children, a trip to the Art Institute and a peak at the Thorne rooms should definitely be on your list!
If you’d like to add The Sixty-eight Rooms to your child’s library, click here: The Sixty-eight Rooms