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Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Already being proclaimed a classic in children’s literature and compared to the likes of Roald Dahl and Eva Ibbotson, Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers merges fantasy and historical fiction with sophisticated lyrical prose and vivid imagery that will delight middle grade readers, tweens, teens, and parents and teachers alike.
Join plucky heroine Sophie, her eccentric guardian Charles, and her intrepid orphan allies on the rooftops of Victorian Paris, as they encounter suspense and adventure that will keep kids of all ages on the edge of their seats right to the heartwarming end.
My mother is still alive, and she is going to come for me one day.
Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. Found floating in a cello case and swaddled in a Beethoven score, she is the only recorded female survivor of a shipwreck on the English Channel. But Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help…
Charles, a fellow survivor and an eccentric scholar, finds Sophie and brings her home to his London bachelor flat. Raised in a quirky home filled with music, words and love (though questionable diet), Sophie grows into a free-spirited tomboy with a taste for Shakespeare and the unshakeable belief that anything is possible. And you should never ignore a possible.
So when the child welfare agency in its bureaucratic wisdom threatens to send Sophie to an orphanage, the optimistic girl and her odd guardian flee to Paris on a quest to find her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker.
Secured in an attic to evade the French authorities, Sophie escapes through the skylight and meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – homeless urchins who tightrope walk above the busy streets below, dining on pigeons and snails alongside the gargoyles and bell tower of Notre Dame. Together they set out on an unimaginable adventure, scouring the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London – and most importantly, before she loses hope.
Readers who enjoyed the Lemony Snicket books, Ellen Potter’s The Kneebone Boy, Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord, and Sally Gardner’s I, Coriander will want to put Rooftoppers on their “Must Read” list.
A writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination
I enjoyed it tremendously... An ultra stylish writer with a true gift for imaginative storytelling. The next time I go to Paris I will be looking up at the rooftops.
This second children's book by the youngest ever Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, is a rare and remarkable treat, witty and full of original thoughts ... This quirky book advocates curiosity, thoughtfulness, freedom and courage.
There is a wistful, old-fashioned charm to Katherine Rundell's second novel: her poetic language and imaginative approach set this book apart from many other adventure stories for this age group. Whimsical, beautifully-written and as carefully balanced as the tightrope Sophie learns to walk,Rooftoppersis a sensitive and emotionally-resonant novel with an uplifting message about the power of hope.
RecallingThe Invention of Hugo Cabret, the grippingRooftoppers, is set partly among the feral orphans living in Paris's night sky, and comes recommended by Philip Pullman.
Grown-ups only work in children's books if in real life they would be banned by health and safety. Charles Maxim, who rescues a baby from a shipwrecked cello case inRooftoppersby Katherine Rundell, brings Sophie up to write on wallpaper and have the occasional nip of whisky ... Rundell writes with a similar disregard for convention - the childcare officer has a voice "like a window slamming shut" - so your children may dare to live dangerously, but at least they'll steer clear of clichés.
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