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PISH POSH by Ellen Potter


by Ellen Potter

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-23995-2
Publisher: Philomel

Monsieur Frankofile’s upscale restaurant, Pish Posh, has a gimmick: his daughter, Clara (11), who heartlessly polices the success or failure of each diner, determining who can have a reservation. This does wonders for the restaurant’s popularity and makes Clara a menacingly powerful and mysterious figure, until she becomes aware of a magical secret involving the least of her father’s soup chefs. Behind Clara’s discoveries and her public demeanor are larger revelations entwined in highly imaginative, stuffed-to-the-gills plot elements. Her initial cold narration focuses on her routine and her strange, over-the-top living conditions. Potter’s tremendous textual power diminishes in effectiveness as Clara’s inner life becomes more complex and she starts to interact with others, because easy solutions and quick fixes speed the storyline. This disconcerting turn in storytelling weakens the first fascination with the characters, as they flatten and disintegrate when lives and story are tidied up to accommodate a too-easy ending. (Fiction. 9-11)