Clara Frankophile is the 11-year-old daughter of famous restauranteurs and owners of the very exclusive restaurant, Pish Posh. According to Clara, everyone is either a somebody or a nobody - and Clara has taken on the job of deciding into which category the patrons of her parents' restaurant belongs. When a person is declared a nobody, they are banished from not only the restaurant but also from New York society as a whole. Hiding behind her sunglasses, Clara remains detached from the people around her. That is until she declares Dr. Piff to be a nobody. As he leaves the restaurant, he whispers a mysterious message that only Clara is able to hear. Through a series of unlikely adventures, and a sudden new friend, Clara reaches outside of her normal realm to uncover a mystery and solve a century old puzzle.
The best part of this book is not the mystery; it's learning about Clara herself. She's been pampered but completely ignored by her well meaning but clueless parents. She lives alone, and doesn't even know enough to miss her childhood. I would love to read a prequel about her early childhood; there were hints of stories there that could prove to be more fascinating than this story. Clara's transformation to thoughtful and caring child is certainly the lesson taught. Although far-fetched and unrealistic, the mystery keeps the action moving and the plot races forward quickly.
I would not use this book in my classroom. However, most of my girls - especially the girly-girls - would enjoy Pish Posh very much, and I will add a copy to my classroom library.
Buy it now at Barnes & Noble.