Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell


‘She hated official letters. They made her feel nervous. The people who wrote them sounded like they had filing cabinets where their hearts should be’

It’s phrases like this that make me love Katherine Rundell’s books so much. My mother picked out Rooftoppers for me and I read it extraordinarily quickly. As soon as I finished it I immediately ordered The Girl Savage (Katherine Rundell’s previous novel) to read as well. Rooftoppers draws on several themes common in children’s literature – eccentric guardian, wild children, a journey, missing parent, lots of food, they’re all there. Sophie, from the ocean, has been adopted by Charles but still longs to find her real mother, whom she is convinced is still alive. The book is an account of her quest.

The day to day existence of the characters isn’t as grounded as in some similar novels (such as Eva Ibbotson’s The Star of Kazan or Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord), and that it ends rather suddenly. But these are minor problems in a book which is truly magical.The writing is beautiful, highly poetic and imaginative, and makes you see the world in a whole new way. It’s a dream of a book, which really reminds one of childlike imagination and confidence. ‘Never ignore a possible’ is the motto of the tale, and it whisks one along with such ease that one never gets around to even considering otherwise. Wholeheartedly recommended to anyone with big dreams, and anyone who doesn’t have big dreams but ought to. So everyone really.


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