Reader Reviewed Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-Offs by Sarah Forbes

Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-Offs

Written by Sarah Forbes
Illustrated by James Brown
Part of the Elspeth Hart Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Elspeth Hart lives with her horrible aunt, Miss Crabb, at the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs. It is the first adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her Converse trainers and unstoppable determination. But when Elspeth realises that Miss Crabb is lying to her, she hatches a daring escape plan, involving a high-profile festival, a pair of smelly underpants and a top-secret Extra-Special Sticky Toffee Sauce. It is a fast-paced and funny story from a fresh new voice in children's fiction and her quirky adventures will delight fans of David Walliams, Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Elspeth doesn’t remember what happened to her parents or how she came to be living at the School for Show-offs. She spends her days cleaning and avoiding Tatiana Firensky. Then one day, Elspeth bumps her head and starts to remember… Can she escape from the school, and keep her secret safe? This enjoyable comic story contains larger-than-life characters in a range of amusing situations. (Ages 8–11)
~ Andrea Rayner

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Isabelle Preston, age 10 - 'I liked this book because of its mysterious manner. I liked the idea that a shy girl lives in a show-off school and that she was sto - oops almost gave the story away!'
  • Rachel Zinkin, age 8 - 'This book was funny and entertaining and full of adventure. I really liked this book and I am looking forward to the next one.'
  • Georgie Docwra, age 9 - 'A great easy-to-read book!'
  • Lily Benner, age 10 - 'I liked this book, it was interesting, funny and gruesome.'
  • Sabina Beinart- Smith, age 7 - 'This book is good because it had lots of unexpected things happening and surprises. My favourite character is Elspeth because she is caring and kind and helpful, unlike the bossy Tatiana Firensky!'
  • Evie Aconley, age 8 - 'The most exciting book I have ever read!! A must read for all those who like a good adventure.'
  • Amisha McCRystal, age 13 - 'A one of a kind book, that will blow your mind.  Sarah Forbes is the new Roald Dahl.'
  • Erica Motoc, age 9 - 'The book Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs is really good.'
  • Cora Willans - 'I think Miss Criag is REALLY mean.'


Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-Offs by Sarah Forbes

Ever since her parents were tragically washed away in a flood, Elspeth Hart has been forced to live in the attic of the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs with her disgusting aunt, Miss Crabb. She spends her days helping out in the kitchen and dodging Tatiana Firensky, the most horrible show-off of them all. Her only friend is the awkward and shy Rory Snitter, who is inseparable from his pet lizard, Lazlo. But when a knock on the head from a falling book brings back some of Elspeth's memories from before the flood, she begins to suspect that Miss Crabb is hiding something.


'Elspeth Hart is piles of fun from beginning to end. You can't help but root for Elspeth, who's forced to contend with a memorable cast of wonderfully unlikeable characters as she unravels the mystery of her predicament. Bursting with intrigue and unpleasantness!' Guy Bass

'I thoroughly enjoyed it, it romps along with great pace, good jokes and horrible characters. And the wonderful illustrations complement the text beautifully.' A.F. Harrold

'Hilariously written, wonderfully illustrated and with superbly depicted characters, I can see this being immensely popular - it's refreshingly different and Elspeth is excellent.' Parents in Touch

About the Author

Sarah Forbes was born in Aberdeen and currently lives in Edinburgh. She used to work on magazines, interviewing pop stars for a living, but now she works as an editor, helping other writers to create their own stories. Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs was Sarah's debut novel.

Here is a letter from Sarah Forbes to author Anne Fine, who visited her home town when she was eight and made a lasting impression.

Dear Anne Fine,
You won’t remember this, but in the late 1980s you visited Stonehaven Library as part of an author tour. Stonehaven is a lovely place: a small seaside resort on the east coast of Scotland near Aberdeen. It has an open-air swimming pool and a ruined castle. These days it’s famous for being the home of the deep-fried Mars bar. (Yes, I have eaten a deep-fried Mars bar. No, that isn’t why I’m writing this.)

I remember your visit vividly because I was an avid, avid reader of your books. You coming to town was like having a famous pop star parachute in for the day. The excitement of having an actual, real author come to speak to us! Someone whose books I could reach out and touch on the library shelves in the children’s section upstairs where you did your event.

For a kid living in a big literary city like Edinburgh or London, meeting authors might not be such a big deal. Authors tend to work hard to promote their books and the ones I know do as many events as they can. But let me tell you, rural Aberdeenshire in the 80s was not a hotbed of literary discovery, and you coming to town meant a lot. I think that was the point when I realized writing could be a career. Maybe one day, I could be a writer too.

Many, many years later, I found myself back in the children’s section of Stonehaven Library promoting my own children’s books. That felt incredibly weird and incredibly lovely all at the same time. I’m excited to say I’ll also be talking to kids about my Elspeth Hart books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this month. I have so much fun doing my own events, but my favourite part is when I ask if anyone likes writing or wants to be a writer and dozens of hands shoot up. The ideas these kids have are amazing. I wonder if it’s easier to dream your way into becoming a writer when you meet grown-ups who’ve done the same thing?

Either way, I relish every minute of getting to meet my readers, and part of the reason I appreciate it, Anne, is you.

Warm wishes,
Sarah Forbes

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Book Info


192 pages


Sarah Forbes
More books by Sarah Forbes


Stripes Publishing an imprint of Little Tiger Press Group

Publication date

4th May 2015




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