“The beauty of sky, music, and the belief in ‘extraordinary things’ triumph in this whimsical and magical tale” (Publishers Weekly) 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, they takes matters into their own hands and flee to Paris to look for Sophie’s mother, starting with the only clue they have—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.”
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.