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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.

From Publishers Weekly

29 July 2013 – A baby found floating in a cello case in the English Channel, and Charles Maxim, a scholar and fellow survivor of a mysterious shipwreck, become an unconventional family, guided by the philosophy that You should never ignore a possible. Permissive but caring, Charles lets the baby, whom he names Sophie, write on walls, eat off books, climb things, and indulge in mother-watching as the years pass, until unwanted attention from the National Childcare Agency sends them in search of Sophie s cello-playing mother. In Paris, 12-year-old Sophie takes to the rooftops, guided by irrepressible roof-dweller Matteo, an orphanage escapee who literally shows her the ropes; in one breathtaking scene, he walks her on a tightrope between buildings ( Grip with your toes. Left. Stop. Do not look down ). Eccentric, tactile food imagery appears throughout, from Charles s pork pie served on the Bible to Matteo s fresh-cooked rat. While the children s uncanny survival skills take occasionally graphic turns, as in a brutal fight between rooftopper tribes, the beauty of sky, music, and the belief in extraordinary things triumph in this whimsical and magical tale. Ages 8 12.

Customer Reviews

Beautifully written

Beautifully written, charming. For all ages.


Even I haven't read it on kindle it's still one of my favourite books!!!! Would recommend this to anyone aged 8-13! It's amazing!😀😀😀😀

Roof toppers

This book so a very good book, it is adventurous, exciting, and amusing. There is always something going on in the book, always something to think about. I recommend this book for children aged 9-14 maybe older. I really enjoyed this book, I thought it was great.

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  • £4.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: General Nonfiction
  • Published: 26 February 2013
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings