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Rooftoppers Paperback – 7 Mar 2013
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The child grows up convinced that her mother is still alive out there somewhere. She is small memories of her but the grownups around her tell her she must be mistaken. Only the cello case can hold the key - and once it is revealed, it takes young Sophie on an adventure across the channel to Paris and into a secret world of street children who hide on the rooftops and in the trees of this beautiful city. Will Sophie find her mother? Is music the connection that will bring a family back together?
The story has many themes to it - family, motherhood, equality, trust, bravery, rules, to name but a few. A really lovely story, beautifully told. There are also some beautiful scenes in the book - some of which are begging for a filmmaker to realise on the big screen.
Very suitable for 9-12 year olds. I have written whole units of work around the book for upper key stage 2 also, as it is such a rich and well-told tale.
I'm in year 5 and I've read a lot of books but none have compared to this. It is a moving and extremely enjoyable book. Recommended for everyone. This book's most powerful property however, is that it says how important it is to be in a family and never give up, no matter how much people don't believe in you.
Well, naturally the Welfare people (a YA novel where the state is the villain? What are the odds?!) don't like this arrangement. Charles isn't raising Sophie as a lady and they're going to put her in an orphanage instead. Charles and Sophie do the sensible thing and scamper over to Paris, prompted, in part, by Sophie discovering a Parisian address in her cello case. Once there, the two become an unlikely pair of detectives: Charles trying trying the legal avenues and Sophie, well, she takes to the rooftops. It seems that Paris is inhabited by tribes of feral orphans, bounding from roof to roof, free as the birds they hunt and eat.
There are certainly some dark moments, but on the whole, Rooftoppers is just... really charming. From the beginning the whole foppish Shakespeare and jam thing signposts that this is a rose-tinted sort of unreality, where Sophie and Charles blithely and anachronistically bound from adventure to adventure, with roof-picnics and music lessons and more. I hasten to add that there's nothing wrong with this: Rooftoppers is cute, but it is clever, adventurous and, on the whole, good clean fun. Certainly recommended for fans of Frances Hardinge (who strikes a similar tone, though with more, um, substance), or, for that matter, steampunk.
All the excitement starts when a boat called the “Queen Mary” sinks. No one had noticed that the water had come in because of the loud music. When everyone had realized, it was too late. Apparently the only female survivor was Sophie – a one year old girl floating in a cello case - but she refuses to believe that her mother has died. Convinced that her mother is still alive and searching for her, Sophie sets off to France with her guardian Charles, a generous, awkward, bookish scholar. During Sophie’s search for her mother she meets Mateo, a boy who walks tightropes and lives on the rooftops of Paris. Together they search for Sophie’s mother, but will they be able to find her before the orphanage gets hold of Sophie and crushes her dream forever?
I liked “Rooftoppers” because it really had a meaning and a lesson in the story, and it was funny. A lot of the book made me laugh because of the quirky remarks made by the characters and the ridiculous descriptions of their experiences. “Rooftoppers” was written so that the reader feels like an extra character in the book, listening to the conversations and watching the plot unfold before them. Personally, I think that people age ten and up will like this book. Children younger might not enjoy it as much due to the complicated plot and descriptive vocabulary.
Overall I think that “Rooftopers” is a great book that shows off Rundell’s beautiful gift of imaginative storytelling to any one who reads this book.
(Reviewer age: 11)
Thanks for reading.
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