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 Gassbeek might think they're 'unadoptable', they know their individuality is what makes them so special - and so determined to stay together. Twelve years on the children still have each other - until a fateful night threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, beginnning their adventure with only a scrap of a clue to guide them to their mysterious new home . . .