The Cabinet of Wonders: The Kronos Chronicles, Book 1 by Marie Rutkoski

BOOK TRAILER from publisher Macmillan- Includes book trailer for book 2: The Celestial Globe.

Take a LOOK INSIDE The Cabinet of Wonders

Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But it’s never been ordinary. She has a tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her hair and give her advice. Her best friend can trap lightning in a glass sphere. And Petra’s father is able to move metal with his mind. He has been commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the world’s finest astronomical clock. Then Petra’s father returns home—blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and now wears them. Petra doesn’t know why, but she does know this: She will go to Prague and steal her father’s eyes back. When she finds out that her father’s clock has the power to destroy the world, Petra realizes she may never make it home alive.

Getting to know the Author:

Marie Rutkoski Bio --from publisher, Macmillan

Author explains a bit of why she wrote The Cabinet of Wonders

Sign of the Spider website- Marie Rutkoski's author web site.

Author interview : Marie Rutkoski, describes the characters from her book in an interview.
Marie Rutkoski interviews Astrophil, the Tin Spider. (PDF activity guide)

click here to hear a podcast of Author interview at Book Expo of America

bluebonnet_clipart.gifBluebonnet Teaching Resources:

The Cabinet of Wonders Discussion Guide (PDF format)

The Cabinet of Wonders Teacher's Guide William Allen White Children's Book Awards

bluebonnet_clipart.gif Bluebonnet book activities:

First, Listen to: ******Audio excerpt******
Chapter one-The yellow hills rose and fell in sunny tops and valleys. The Bohemian......

Next, examine how the author begins her tale. Has she clearly painted a visually descriptive mental picture of the setting?

"The yellow hills rose and fell in sunny tops and valleys. The Bohemian countryside on this August morning looked almost like a golden ocean with huge, swelling waves."

Why are the hills yellow?

Why do they look like a golden ocean with huge swelling waves?

Next, Jarek, one of the first characters introduced, complains about the smell of ....

"Those blasted brassica flowers. They stink fouler than a five-hundred-year-old outhouse"

As the reader, you now have both a mental image of yellowness and a "smell" to visualize the setting.

Marie Rutkoski has done a wonderful job painting this sensory experience allowing the reader to feel as if they are on the rickety cart along with Martin and Jarek wending their way through the valley of smelly yellow brassica flowers.

Brassica flower fields
This is the golden ocean of brassica flowers that give the illusion of huge swelling waves.
Field of yellow brassica flowers-image source: Zyance Brassica_napus_LC0027.jpg

Brassica napus
image source: Jorg Hempel

What is a Cabinet of Wonders?
The Getty Museum explains it as:
"Like a museum, it was used to store, organize, and display a prized collection of works of art and natural objects. By opening its many doors and drawers, the original owner could embark on a labyrinth-like journey, admiring tiny oil paintings, wood carvings, and precious inlaid materials decorating its surfaces—much like the voyage of exploration and discovery experienced in a museum visit"

Albert Jansz. Vinckenbrinck
German, Augsburg, about 1630

Each of the four sides of this cabinet opens to reveal an unexpectedly complex series of drawers. Collectors from the early 1600s would have used cabinets of this kind to store such rare and exotic objects as medals, gems, or shells.

Bluebonnet Trivia question:
Another name for a cabinet of wonders is a "cabinet of curiosities."
In which other 2010-2011 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominated book can you learn about a "cabinet of curiosities, or cabinet of wonders?"

Answer: Read the books! Or you may request a clue using the discussion tab at the top of this page.

Coat of arms of Bohemian Crown


Coat of arms of Bohemian Crown until 1635.
image credit: Hugo Gerhard Ströhl
Clockwise from left above: (checked) eagle of Moravia, eagle of Silesia, ox of Lower Lusatia, eagle of Upper Silesia,
wall of Upper Lusatia, and, in the center, Bohemian lion.

bluebonnet_clipart.gifTexas Bluebonnet Book Literature Connections:


The Kronos Chronicles: Book II

Book review source:: Fantasy Book Critic-Cindy Hannikman

For the past few months Petra has been hidden away from Prince Rodolfo. In an attempt to try and capture the young girl who has stolen from his secret cabinet the Prince sends evil man made monsters to track down Petra. With the help of a friend and her father, Petra has enough warning to not be killed by the monsters but instead ends up facing them in a fight.

The next thing Petra knows she has magically appeared in London. However, London is thousands of miles away from her hometown. It appears as if John Dee has saved her from the monster attack but is now keeping her prisoner in his home. What would his motivation be to keeping Petra safe? Is he out to use Petra like he did in Prince Rodolfo's castle?

Meanwhile, after the monster's attack on Petra. Petra's friend, Tomik goes in search of her. What he finds are four dead animals. As he searches the area that he believes Petra is he magically walks through a rift that takes him to a mysterious beach somewhere on the coast. It is Tomik's luck that he is captured by a group of gypsy pirates who take Tomik captive in the hopes of selling him as a slave later on. On the ship that Tomik is taken captive on there is an old friend of Petra who will take an interest in Tomik's goal of saving Petra. While on the ship the pirates are in search of a magical globe known as The Celestial Globe which will help them travel around the world through rifts. The only problem is no one knows where this Globe has disappeared to or even how to use it.