rooftoppersOne of the best I’ve read recently, Rooftoppers is exceptional, both for its narrative scope and emotional depth.  It sucks you in from the first page – with the discovery of Sophie, a baby in a cello case, left adrift and orphaned after a ship has sunk – to the very last, where Sophie scrambles across the rooftops of Paris in search of her long lost mother.

How exciting to discover an author who is capable of producing such a complete and imaginative book, particularly when the basic story (orphan goes on quest to find parents) is a familiar narrative path.  But the endearing peculiarities of the characters – not least Matteo, a fellow-orphan who scratches out a tough, miserable existence high above the Paris streets – makes this one stand out from the crowd.  Continue reading

Into the Alligator’s Mouth

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An end of year pilgrimage of sorts, with a refreshingly chilly stroll along the river from Kingston to Richmond ending up at the wonderful Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, nestled at the end of a narrow cobbled alley (come to think if it, I may have imagined the cobbles but if there weren’t any, there should have been – it was that kind of place).

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