I got this book through the Amazon Vine program as an advanced reading copy. As such, it is missing the final drawings in the book so I can’t address those. The description of this book reminded me of a book that I loved as a child “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”. It ended up being a very enjoyable book to read.
Ruthie and Jack are on a field trip to the Chicago Institute of Art where they get to see the Throne Rooms; 68 rooms built in miniature. They convince one of the guards to give them a tour of the corridor behind the rooms and while back there they find a silver key. The key causes Ruthie to shrink; her and Jack embark on a series of adventures in the miniature Throne Rooms as they try to unravel the mysteries of the rooms.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book. The setting is very cool. I did not know about the Throne rooms and now I really want to go to Chicago and see them! The descriptions are well done and the plot was engaging. Malone wove a lot of wisdom and life lessons into this story as well. The idea that the rooms lead to history is very cool too. Overall I enjoyed Malone’s writing style and thought this was a very creative story. Ruthie and Jack are believable characters and Malone does a good job developing the side characters as well.
There were a couple things I had problems with. The dialogue between Ruthie and Jack is really awkward in the beginning of this book. As the book continued that was fixed, but it was like Malone needed some time to get used to the characters’ personalities before she could get the dialogue smoothed out. I also thought that Malone took too long to get to the meat of the story; it took almost half of the book to get to the point where they shrink down and explore the rooms. I really wish Malone had got to the point where they explore the rooms quicker and then we could have read more about their exploring! I also wish we had gotten to see more rooms with Ruthie and Jack, they really only ended up exploring a handful of them.
Overall this was a good read, appropriate for all ages. I liked the writing style and the overall story. I wish that the beginning had been shortened up a bit so that we could have spent more time with Ruthie and Jack in the Throne Rooms. I get the feeling there may be a sequel in the making because there are a couple things at the end of the story that hint at adventures to come. If that it is the case, I will most likely check out Malone’s next book too!