Author(s): Hana Tooke
'Milou,' Lotta said softly. 'We need adoption papers to leave. And no one except that horrid merchant wants us.' 'Well then,' replied Milou with a grin. 'We'll just have to adopt ourselves.' In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. Until the autumn of 1886, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances- one in a tin toolbox, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket. Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou; who were swiftly and firmly deemed 'the unadoptables'. Twelve years on the children still have each other - until the fateful night a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, fleeing the frozen canals of Amsterdam for an adventure packed with puppets and pirate ships, clock-makers and cruel villains - and with only a scrap of a clue to guide them to their mysterious new home . . .
Tooke’s debut novel is a swashbuckling, breakneck adventure set in late 19th century Amsterdam. Five unique orphans—Milou, Sem, Lotta, Egg and Fenna—escape their dreary orphanage and a dastardly plan to involve them in illegal child labour. Armed with their wits, individual talents and an unbreakable friendship, the group sets out to find not only their freedom but a sense of belonging. Reminiscent of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, this heartwarming and affective story questions what it means to trust yourself and others, and what it takes to make a family. Great for ages 8+. Heloise