Rooftoppers (Hardcover)

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By Katherine Rundell, Terry Fan (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

I was hooked by the first sentence of this marvelous, witty and magical book: “On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel.” Baby Sophie is rescued by the eccentric bachelor Charles Maxim. Bookish Charles, now her sole guardian, has little experience with children. Their quirky lifestyle attracts the attention of child services, who wish to place Sophie in an orphanage. Sophie and Charles flee to Paris, where Sophie meets Matteo and his talented gang and becomes a rooftopper, mastering the art of moving stealthily from rooftop to rooftop. I hope this wonderful book is the first in a possible series, as I have learned from the astute Charles: “Never ignore a possibility!” Ages 9-12. ~ Rodie

— From Rodie


Embrace possibility in this luminous novel about a girl in search of her past who discovers a secret rooftop world in Paris.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive--but "almost impossible" means "still possible." And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has-- the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers--urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie's mother--but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series, calls Rooftoppers "the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination.

Praise For…

* "Brava! This witty, inventively poetic, fairy-tale–like adventure shimmers with love, magic and music."

“Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers, like her previous novel The Girl Savage, is the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination. I admire her novels very much, and I hope they find the success they deserve. I’m certainly looking forward to her next."
-Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series

"Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers is a confection of lyrical prose. Bold imaginative leaps carry the reader from one Parisian rooftop to the next in this unique and beautifully written tale of a girl in search of the mother whom everyone else believes is dead."
-Maryrose Wood, author of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series

"Rooftoppers drew me in immediately and carried me along straight to the end with its original voice and lively story."
-Sharon Creech, Newbery-award winning author of Walk Two Moons

"Here comes a classic... Fantastic joyous storytelling. I was entranced. This is the only book I have ever read that made me long to cook sausages on a roof. From the first page onwards I knew I was reading something that sparkled (and it just got brighter and brighter). I'm a bit jealous actually; I wish I'd written it. Gorgeous, witty, kind, amazing, vertigo inducing, breathtaking, utterly charming, loved, loved, loved this little gem of a book. Hold your breath- this book is magic."
-Hilary McKay, Whitbread Children's Book award-winning author of the Casson Family series

Product Details
ISBN: 9781442490581
ISBN-10: 1442490586
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 24th, 2013
Pages: 277
Language: English