Title: Rooftoppers

Author: Katherine Rundell

Pages: 278 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

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.


The Review

Rooftoppers is an absolute dream of a story.

I work in a high school and I have been challenged with getting a group of reluctant readers to start to enjoy reading so I chose Rooftoppers. Having not read the book before you may be wondering why I chose this book. Was it the plethora of excellent reviews that it has received over the years? No. Was it the cover? Pretty as it the cover is, no. The fact is that I chose it because we have several copies in the school library and I have a limited budget.

I was incredibly lucky though because Rooftoppers is a magical story of unlikely friendship, parental love and how it is possible to choose your family.

Sophie is a heroine to fall in love with. She is fearless and feisty and everything a young girl should be. Her guardian, Charles is quirky and memorable. And the cast of characters that she meets along the way are brilliant.

I am so glad that I chose this book for my readers!

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell is available now.

For more information regarding Katherine Rundell (@kdbrundell) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.


Thinking about ItTitle: Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse – And Other Lessons From Modern Life

Author: David Mitchell

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Faber and Faber

The Blurb

From the much-loved comedian, star of Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb and Ambassadors comes a collection of his funniest and most brilliant writing.

What’s wrong with calling a burglar brave? Why are people so f***ing hung up about swearing? Why do the asterisks in that sentence make it ok? Why do so many people want to stop other people doing things, and how can they be stopped from stopping them? Why is every film and TV programme a sequel or a remake? Why are we so reliant on perpetual diversion that someone has created chocolate toothpaste? Is there anything to be done about the Internet?

These and many other questions trouble David Mitchell as he delights us with a tour of the absurdities of modern life – from Ryanair to Downton Abbey, sports day to smoking, nuclear weapons to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. Funny, provocative and shot through with refreshing amounts of common sense. Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse celebrates and commiserates on the state of things in our not entirely glorious nation.

David Mitchell is a comedian, actor, writer and the polysyllabic member of Mitchell and Webb. He won a BAFTA for Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look, and has also starred in Jam and Jerusalem, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff and Ambassadors. He writes for the Observer, chairs The Unbelievable Truth, is Team Captain on Would I Lie to You? and has been in two films, neither of which made a profit.

The Review

I love David Mitchell. I think he is witty, clever and sometimes acerbic but most of all I like his silliness. How he takes the ridiculous and makes it even more so. David Mitchell definitely produces the kind of comedy that I enjoy. Therefore I was really happy when I had the opportunity to read his collection of articles in the book Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse: And Other Lessons From Modern Life. I don’t buy newspapers (because I spend all my time reading books) so to have a compendium (yes, I went there) of his writing titillated me greatly.

What is fantastic about this collection is that it is dip-in-able. You don’t have to sit there for hours on end reading masses of articles. If you have a short commute then one or two articles should be enough. It is that sort of text, really.

I will warn you though, you will not be able to read the articles without hearing them in Mitchell’s nasal drawl.

Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse: And Other Lessons From Modern Life by David Mitchell is available now.

For more information regarding David Mitchell please visit his Twitter page (@RealDMitchell).

For more information regarding Faber and Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.



The third book in the QI series, following on from 1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off and 1,399 QI Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop is the consistently titled 1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways and it is definitely a book that will keep you entertained for hours and make you “top-dog” at an pub quiz.*


I won’t lie to you, I love a good factoid. I can’t help but feel a little smug and superior when I drop a little tidbit into conversation among my friends and watch as the th shock, awe and sheer impressiveness of the fact washes across their little faces.

Therefore, the QI books are, in my ever so humble opinion, perfect. The third in the series, 1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways, is no less impressive. In all of the facts found in between the pages there was only one that I already knew.

My favourite of all the facts was the following:

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has towns called Intercourse and Paradise. It takes six minutes to get from one to the other.

Pick up all of these books to find out more.

1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin is available from October 9th, 2014.

QI Book

Follow The QI Elves for more interesting facts @qikipedia

*We cannot guarantee this.