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Pish Posh Hardcover – April 20, 2006

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-Clara Frankofile is a pompous, snobbish 11-year-old who spends her evenings people-watching from a corner table in her parents' chic New York City restaurant, Pish Posh. She has the unique ability to determine which members of society's upper crust are no longer worthy to dine at the fashionable establishment. When Clara banishes a kindly but washed-up eye surgeon, he tells her that a peculiar mystery is unfolding right under her very nose. This revelation leads to Clara's improbable alliance with a cunning 12-year-old jewel thief, and together they embark on a perilous adventure that leads to the uncovering of a 200-year-old secret. Attempts at whimsy fail in this overly ambitious novel that tries to cover too much ground to achieve any real substance. Clara is insufferable from any perspective, and even with a seemingly endless cast of secondary characters, it is difficult to find anyone to applaud or admire. The story teems with frivolity, yet contains incongruous elements of cruelty and gruesomeness, resulting in a disjointed tale for which the target audience is unclear. Readers looking for a wonderful book of adventure and triumph of the downtrodden over the social elite should try SF Said's Varjak Paw (Random, 2003).-Debbie Lewis O'Donnell, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Stylish 11-year-old Clara Frankofile spends her evenings presiding over a table at her father's trendy Manhattan restaurant, Pish Posh, snobbishly checking out the clientele to determine who qualifies as a Nobody, suitable for immediate expulsion. Alerted to a mystery right under her nose, she investigates the restaurant's peculiar soup chef, aided by her friend (and sometime thief) Annabelle. This zany mixture of reality and fantasy (the soup chef turns out to be more than 200 years old) offers many interesting characters for readers to ponder: Clara, a child of wealth and privilege, who has spent so much time critiquing her world that she has missed out on childhood; her father, Pierre, who claims to be French despite being Brooklyn born and bred; and Annabelle, who regrets that her father's decision to abandon his life of crime leaves her with a myriad of unusable skills. Recommend this to sophisticated middle-graders, especially those who know the author's Olivia Kidney books. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; First Edition edition (April 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399239952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399239953
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,001,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ellen Potter is the author of many award-winning middle-grade novels, including the OLIVIA KIDNEY series, PISH POSH, SLOB, and THE KNEEBONE BOY.

Her novel OLIVIA KIDNEY was awarded Child magazine's "Best Children's Book Award" and was selected as one of the "Books of the Year" by Parenting magazine.

SLOB was selected for the Junior Library Guild Spring 2009 List and the 2010 Texas Lone Star Reading List.

Her nonfiction book SPILLING INK; A YOUNG WRITER'S HANDBOOK (co-authored by Anne Mazer) was a New York Public Library Top 100 Children's Book for 2010 and a Children's Literature Assembly 2011 Notable Book.

Her newest series is PIPER GREEN & THE FAIRY TREE (Fall 2015, Knopf).

Web site: http://www.ellenpotter.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LaRoche Fam on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Clara Frankofile is a snobby, rich, eleven year old girl who lives in a luxurious penthouse in New York City that is loaded with every thing she could possibly want. What is missing from this glamorous life are the love and care of her parents, who live in a different apartment and don't even care where she is. When Clara kicks Dr. Piff out of her family's posh restaurant, it uncovers a mystery that will change the way she lives forever!

I read this book with my Mother-Daughter Book Club. Most of the girls in the club are the same age as Clara. We enjoyed this book very much! It is a fictional story with a mystery woven into it. Even the moms liked this book! It had some excellent ideas that could be discussed with the group. We highly recommend it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pish Posh by Ellen Potter is a great book and definitely worth reading. 11-year-old Clara Frankofile has everything you could ever want. She's super rich, has her own apartment (it's more convenient for her parents) with a roller coaster, bumper carts, and anything else you could think of. (It's too long to list all of the things she has!) To put that in shorter words Clara is spoiled to the bone. With her parents owning the famous restaurant Pish Posh, Clara in her spare time loves spotting out celebrities that have become "Nobodies" and enjoys kicking them to the curb. Pish Posh is a great book, and if you decide to read it you will go on an amazing and mysterious journey solving clues along the way. A definite page-turner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on May 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pish Posh is the place to be in New York City. Superstars and wannabes dine at the aptly named restaurant, craving attention and enjoying the fabulous food. Each person secretly hopes that he or she will not be deemed the next Nobody, and everyone there fears the person who would deliver that verdict: an eleven year old little girl.

Clara Frankofile, daughter of the Pish Posh owners and chef, wears a black dress everyday (she has hundreds of the same outfit) and looks down on people through her tinted sunglasses. What she says goes. An actress who walked in as the It Girl may be declared a Nobody before she is done with her meal.

Though I like Ellen Potter's Olivia Kidney series, I found myself wanting more from Pish Posh than I ultimately got. It begins as a sarcastic take on society and celebrity, which I liked, but the focus changed not once but twice before the story was through. Based on the jacket summary, I thought I was in for a cross between the book So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld and the film To Catch a Thief, as Clara befriends a girl barely older than her who is a jewel thief. It then became a story about past lives, in a way. I won't spoil the ending, but I will say it fell a little short of my expectations. Still, Potter delivers descriptive and funny writing, and I'll certainly continue to pick up her novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book dad on December 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book.

It is perfect for pre-teens. They fantasize about superpower to deal with their problems. Ms. Potter gives us Clara Frankofile - a social snob - as her heroine [it's all right, she turns out all right in the end]. Clara not only fantasizes about power. She actually gets to use it. Scanning people entering her parents' posh restaurant, Clara intuits who among them no longer retain their social credentials and banishes them from the restaurant. Variations on this theme, plus adventures with a young thief as a side-kick to solve a mystery will keep the reader's interest from start to finish. It is not only a satire on social pretensions, but it's pretty funny too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katherine on July 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Our mother/daughter book group of 5th grade girls read this book and loved it. I should say, the girls loved it. The mothers had a little trouble getting into the whole fantasy aspect of it, but we all liked the book's humor. We had a lively discussion about it and the girls were all transported into the magical world of the main character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jodienut on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because my 8 yr old (advanced reader) was drawn in by the cover and wanted to read it. I didn't let her: I never saw it coming, but the climax of the book was too brutal for her. (A man is hanged - and it's described - because of a false accusation made by a woman who had started to fall in love with him. She realizes he didn't do it as she sees him being hanged.)

The hanging scene also seems a bit incongruous with the rest of the book, which doesn't take itself too seriously and has a much lighter tone.

The rest of the book was mostly good fun for kids. The main character has her own apartment (at age 11), with various fantasy rooms (a beach room with real waves and sand, a tree climbing room with a real tree, etc.). She wields a great deal of power in the adult world, wearing dark sunglasses and black dresses as she decides who to ban from her parents' restaurant. She meets a girl her age who is a professional thief, likewise powerful and very competent. The two of them find themselves drawn into friendship. Their bad behavior has only emotional consequences (i.e. guilt). Still, I found this book to be an enjoyable flight of fantasy, a power trip for kids.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Pish Posh takes place in wonderful New York City. Clara Frankofile is eleven years old. Her mother and father own the spectacular Pish Posh restaurant known for it's famous customers. Clara is responsible for keeping nobodies out of the restaurant. She finds out some untold facts about her father. Clara seems drawn to spending time with Annabel, a theif. She wonders if she herself has become a nobody. Clara uncovers an unforgettable mystery right under her nose. I rate this book five stars. It is very descriptive and is a real page-turner. If you like mysteries you should read this book!

- Julia
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