Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stealing Magic

Title: Stealing Magic     
Author: Marianne Malone   
Illustrator: Greg Call  
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: January 24, 2012 
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Ruthie and Jack thought that their adventures in the Thorne Rooms were over . . . until miniatures from the rooms start to disappear. Is it the work of the art thief who's on the loose in Chicago? Or has someone else discovered the secret of the Thorne Rooms' magic? Ruthie and Jack's quest to stop the thief takes them from modern day Chicago to 1937 Paris to antebellum South Carolina. But as more items disappear, including the key that allows them to shrink and access the past worlds, what was once just an adventure becomes a life and death race against the clock. Can Ruthie and Jack catch the thief and help the friends they meet on the way before the magic—and the rooms—are destroyed forever? Fans of magic, mystery, and adventure will love this rollicking sequel to Marianne Malone's The Sixty-Eight Rooms. 
What I Think: I listened to the first book in this series, The Sixty-Eight Rooms and I thought the narration was great. Jennifer with Books On Tape sent me the ARC of Stealing Magic to read and I have to say I liked this book better. Both are fun books, about two kids who discover they can shrink and become small enough to fit into the famous Thorne Rooms(sixty-eight miniature rooms housed at the Art Institute in Chicago). The first book brings excitement and mystery but I enjoyed the mystery in this second book a bit more. Maybe it was getting used to all the magic in the first book and in this book it wasn't about exploring and figuring how it all worked, it was more about looking out for the rooms.
I love books like this that are basically realistic fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in plus some art appreciation and even historical fiction. There aren't many books like this but Blue Balliett's books come to mind (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three, and The Calder Game). If there were ever a book or book series to give to a child I think any of these would be great - you can give a miniature playset or a "magic" key to go with it or take a trip to the Art Institute or another museum and imagine exhibits coming to life.
We had been planning to visit the Art Institute to take my oldest son to visit the coats of armor there. When we did, we had to also make a visit to the Thorne Rooms. Peanut helped me wander through the rooms in search of the exact room on the cover of this book. We found it! There were a few that looks similar but we had to compare the details to find just the right one!

I wish I had been able to take the time to look through the other rooms to find other rooms that they talk about visiting in the book but it was super crowded and I had the whole family in tow (including a cranky 1 1/2 year-old) so we were lucky to find this one from the cover. There is something very magical about the rooms.
Read Together: 4 - 6
Read Alone: 4 - 8 
Read With: Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three, The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
Snatch of Text:  
"They left the museum and crossed the street to Millennium Park, finding an empty bench near the Cloud Gate sculpture, which everyone called 'The Bean.'
'Tell me everything,' Jack said. 'And breathe slowly.'
Ruthie recounted how she had found the apples in the bottom of Dora's bag. 'Who walks around with that many apples?'" p. 155
Mentor Text For: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Imagine you are only 4 or 5 inches tall and write a story about how the world is from that perspective. 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Family, Loyalty, Trust, Thievery, Honesty, Communication, Courage, Taking Risks

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