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TANYA REVIEW POST FOR Roof Toppers by Katherine Rundell

on January 27, 2015

Photo: Tanya review to follow for rooftops


Roof Toppers by Katherine Rundell


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


Firstly thank you Suzanne for this fantastic book aimed at older children. The book won and was shortlisted in various competitions last year including winner of the Blue Peter book award and Waterstones children’s book prize.

Roof Toppers is about a baby about a year old found by a gentleman called Charles Maxim. She was found safe inside a cello case floating on the water in the English Channel, after the sinking of the ship she was travelling on. There was no sign of her mother so Charles took her into his care and tried his very best to bring her up. He had quirky sayings and eccentric ways including writing messages to each other on the hallway wall. The lack of ladylike ways caused concern with the welfare agency and they aimed to take her into care. Matters that arise take Sophie and Charles to Paris in search of her mum.

The adventure that takes place in Paris is intriguing and mostly is carried out on the roof tops overlooking the city. Sophie meets some fantastic young people on her travels and learns how they survive on the roof tops/trees of Paris. Matteo lives on the roof tops and helps Sophie along with his other friends in the search of her mum. They face many challenges along the way and the bond between them all grows with understanding.

Sophie has grown up to be a caring and friendly young lady and this shows through her approach in coming face to face with Matteo and how she faces his situation. Although she loves Charles and he has done a great job in raising her she is obviously desperate to find her routes. Charles is eccentric but tries his hardest to do the best for Sophie even if it does mean facing imprisonment.

This book is great for adults and teenagers and I will certainly be reading it again and again. I struggled to put the book down to get on with other things and I even learnt things that about Paris. It is really a must read.

About the Author
Katherine Rundell-tightrope walker, cartwheeler, academic, and author-was born in 1987 and grew up in Africa and Europe. In 2008 she was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her first book, The Girl Savage, was born of her lo
ve of Zimbabwe and her own childhood there. Her second, Rooftoppers (Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal), was inspired by summers working in Paris and by night-time trespassing on the rooftops of All Souls. She is currently working on her doctorate alongside an adult novel. She lives in Oxford, UK.



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