THE UNADOPTABLES, by Hana Tooke, Viking Books for Young Readers, July 21, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Family takes on a new form in Hana Tooke’s mysterious The Unadoptables.
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 1880, 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. And although their cruel matron might think they’re “unadoptable,” they know their individuality is what makes them special — and so determined to stay together.
When a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart, the gang make a daring escape across the frozen canals of Amsterdam. But is their real home — and their real family — already closer than they realize?—Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young Readers
While quirky characters and nefarious adults remind of Lemony Snickett, The Unadoptables, is unique.
At the center of the story is Milou. Milou who knows her parents are still alive. Milou who has clues to there whereabouts. Milou whose ears tingle when decisions need to be made. Milou is the instigator and the driving force behind the group of peculiar children.
While Milou is the central character, she is buoyed up by some fantastic friends. Each with their own talents. They create a balance that makes this novel sing.
The Unadoptables is a fast and fantastical. There are moments of joy and moments of sorrow and moments of everything in between. But what makes this book a success is the friendships and the definition of family.
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