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The Unadoptables

Written by Hana Tooke

Illustrated by Ayesha L. Rubio

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The Unadoptables Review

Adventure Stories Crime / Mystery Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers

A wonderfully entertaining adventure and captivating mystery

Five fantastic children on the adventure of a lifetime

Warm-hearted and mysterious The Unadoptables is a wonderfully entertaining adventure with a cast of fascinating characters set in a brilliantly evoked old-world Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside. Following the clues from the only possessions she was left with when she was abandoned as a baby and guided by her ‘Book of Theories’, the imaginative Milou leads her four friends – the least adoptable children in the very horrible Little Tulip Orphanage – to her family home where she is sure she will find her parents. Travelling through a freezing night the children arrive at their destination. But there is not the welcome they had expected. Where are Milou’s parents? And what is the mystery they need to solve? The creative ways in which the five children manage first to escape from the evil clutches of their matron and her evil accomplice Rotman and then to make a new life for themselves bamboozling neighbours and unravelling the mystery is vivid and captivating.

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

The Unadoptables Synopsis

The remarkable. The extraordinary. The brave.

Way back in the autumn of 1880, five babies are discovered at the Little Tulip Orphanage in most unusual circumstances. Those babies are Lotta, Egbert, Fenna, Sem and Milou. The vile matron calls the children 'the unadoptables' but this talented gang of best friends know that their individuality is what makes them so special - and so determined to stay together.

When a sinister gentleman tries to get them in his clutches, the children make a daring escape across the frozen canals of Amsterdam, embarking on an adventure packed with pirate ships and puppets. But is their real home - and their real family - already closer than they realize? 

The Unadoptables Press Reviews

A compelling, gorgeously-written story about the power of friendship and the true meaning of family . . . perfection! Robin Stevens, author of Murder Most Unladylike

A high-speed, witty, absurd and joyful adventure. Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers and The Good Thieves

Unfolding with the clarity of a fairy tale, this sure-footed debut casts a delightfully spooky spell. (Fantasy. 8-12) - Kirkus

With a little bit of spookiness and a whole lot of quirkiness, this book will capture your heart! - Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company

This book has everything you need: villians, action, comedy and adventure all rolled into one.  - Robyn Broderick, The Reading Bug

Perfect for reading out loud, and just the right amount of scary, this has the feel of a classic in the making. - Bethany Strout, Tattered Cover Bookstore

The Unadoptables will make you wish your own parents had loved you enough to leave you at a Dutch orphanage in the 19th century to join in their adventures. Great for readers of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Serafina series. - Nathan Halter, Lahaska Bookshop

Unfolding with the clarity of a fairy tale, this sure-footed debut casts a delightfully spooky spell - Kirkus

Effortlessly merging the gothic and ghastly with the eccentric and absurd  -  Waterstones Blog, 'Best Books to Look Out For in 2020'

This delicious debut had me reading late into the night... Beautiful but accessible writing, thrilling action, a hint of magic and unforgettable characters are delivered with wit, wisdom and heart in an enviably distinct voice. - The Bookseller, Children's Book of the Month

...spectacular wit, dazzling theatrical wonder and huge amount of hope, courage and everlasting friendship. A book to absolutely fall in love with. - Cerrie Burnell, author of The Girl With the Shark's Teeth

A corker of a story. - Emma Carroll, author of Letters to the Lighthouse

If you loved this, you might like these...

The Great Dream Robbery
Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang: The Amsterdam Adventure
The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre
Murder on the Safari Star

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241417447
Publication date: 18/02/2021
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780241417461
Publication date: 23/07/2020
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241417447
Publication date: 18th February 2021
Author: Hana Tooke
Illustrator: Ayesha L. Rubio
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Crime / Mystery
Recommendations: Reviewed by Children
Collections: 30 Kids Books about Changing Families, Separation and Divorce,

About Hana Tooke

Half Dutch, half English, Hana Tooke grew up near Amsterdam and moved to the south of England at the age of twelve. After completing a degree in music, and then a PGCE, Hana was a primary school teacher for several years. Hana also completed the Bath Spa University Writing for Young People MA, and The Unadoptables was shortlisted for The Bath Children's Novel Award 2018. She lives in Bath with two humans and a cat. 

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