Synopses & 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 the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. Some might even say, the rooms are magic.
Imagine — what if you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you were small enough to sneak inside and explore the rooms' secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind?
Fans of Chasing Vermeer, The Doll People, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will be swept up in the magic of this exciting art adventure
"Debut author Malone pens a fantasy tale of museum time travel that suffers from an underdeveloped cast of characters and some disappointing plotting decisions. When daring 11-year-old Jack finds a key in the hallway behind the Thorne Rooms, 68 miniature historical dioramas housed in the Art Institute of Chicago, he hands it to his best friend, Ruthie, a cautious girl who yearns for excitement. To their shock, she shrinks to five inches tall. After figuring out how to shrink Jack down, the duo hide in the hallway past closing time, try on fancy clothes and armor, battle a cockroach, and are thrilled to find that doors lead out from the rooms into the actual past. Cop-outs abound, there are no villains to speak of, and the sixth-graders generally seem too good to be true ('You mean you've never been to the Thorne Rooms?' Jack asks Ruthie early on. 'I thought everyone had!'). Readers will find little excitement in either the time travelogue or the clinical descriptions of the genuinely delightful Thorne Rooms, which deserve better. Ages 812." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Malone's] effort may find an enthusiastic audience, for the premise is engaging and the plotting easy to follow." Kirkus Reviews
"First-time novelist Malone carefully crafts a fantastical story with plenty of real-world elements, including Jack's mother's worries as she tries to make a living as an artist and the subplot of a museum security guard, who has lost something important." Booklist
Fans of Chasing Vermeer, The Doll People, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will be swept up in the magic of this exciting artadventure set amongst Chicago's miniature Thorn rooms. Illustrations.
Another globe-spinning literary mystery awaits as Colophon Letterford's quest to uncover Shakespeare's secrets takes her back to his puzzling roots in this thrilling sequel to Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave.
Colophon Letterfords life changed overnight when she uncovered Shakespeares lost manuscripts. Now the authenticity of those manuscripts is in question . . . and the centuries-old family publishing business is in danger. In this exciting mystery, thirteen-year-old Colophon travels from Oxfords lofty Tower of the Five Orders to the dank depths of Londons sewers in her pursuit of truth and honor. But the stakes are high. Budding cryptologists, Shakespeare fans, and mystery lovers alike will revel in the twists and turns of this fascinating middle grade sequel to Secrets of Shakespeares Grave.
About the Author
Marianne Malone is the cofounder of the Campus School Middle School for Girls in Urbana, Illinois. She and her husband divide their time between Urbana and Washington, D.C. This is her first novel.