I loved the first book in this series, The Sixty-Eight Rooms (2010) (my review here). But this third book in the series, The Pirate’s Coin: A Sixty-Eight Room Adventure, by Marianne Malone, (2013, 205 pages)? Not so much. Have I changed? Probably. Did the quality of Ms. Malone’s storytelling decline? Probably not. I believe in Pirate’s Coin the author just didn’t make the most of aspects of the plot that I found compelling in the first book. (The second book of the series published in 2012 is Stealing Magic.)
I liked the in-a-nutshell description of the series in the first paragraph of this review from Booklist:
The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure series blends multiple topics of fascination to many a reader: miniaturization (think The Borrowers), time travel (think the Magic Tree House), mystery (think Hardy Boys), and secretly trawling a museum behind the scenes (think From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler).In this third outing, Jack’s ancestor, from whom he inherits a gold coin, was apparently a seagoing man, and the coin appears to be connected to the adventures the kids have when they make themselves small enough to stroll though the doll-sized, historically decorated Thorne Rooms at Chicago’s Art Institute. The mystery of the coin, and another involving Phoebe, a slave girl the friends met in a previous outing, reveal a new facet of the rooms’ importance: as repositories for vital artifacts. Retrieving one for a classmate related to Phoebe becomes the duo’s mission, even as they discover unwanted consequences. Intriguing, and with enough loose ends to entice readers to further installments, this remains a standout series. Grades 4-6. –Karen Cruze
a. Too many paragraphs were spent on the logistics of how main characters Ruthie and Jack got from one location to another.
b. There was not very much time travel.
Like you, I loved the first book in the series and someday I’ll visit the Thorne rooms. I’ve always been fascinated by dollhouses and tiny people (The Borrowers) or mice who talk (Miss Bianca). Interesting that this third volume didn’t impress you as much as the first. Thanks for your honest review!
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