Monday 25 May 2015

Book Review: Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs by Sarah Forbes

Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs is the first adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her trainers and unstoppable determination. Can you imagine never being allowed to play outside, dear reader? How about sleeping in a wardrobe every night? That's what life is like for Elspeth Hart. Ever since her parents were tragically washed away in a flood, poor Elspeth has been forced to live with her disgusting aunt, Miss Crabb, in the attic of the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs. Elspeth spends her days sweeping up mouse droppings, washing filthy pots and dodging Tatiana Firensky, the most horrible show-off of all. But what Elspeth doesn't know is that things are about to change...

I must admit that I was drawn to this book initially by its lovely purple colour. The more I looked at it the more I wanted to know about the characters depicted on it. The blurb drew me in too, this Cinderella-esque tale was definitely something I wanted to read.

The book is a fairly slim one, and it has plenty of illustrations, done by artist James Brown, dotted throughout. I found that this made it a quick read, I think it will mean that younger readers will find it manageable too - in interest terms it will appeal broadly.

Elspeth's story quickly grabs the reader and has them rooting for her. The circumstances in which she's living combined with all of the awful people she's surrounded by meant I found I was entirely willing her to find a way to come out on top. As the story progresses and we learn more about the things motivating the different characters the more these feelings grow.

I found that the conclusion of the book was satisfying, it is clearly an end to a first book in a series but I found that this only made me want the next book as soon as possible rather than feeling frustrated by how much of the story remains untold.  

Juniper's Jungle

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