Sunday, November 25, 2012

Eloise by Kay Thompson illustrated by Hilary Knight

Eloise has been totally commercialized with toys and even a theme shop in the Plaza hotel itself but returning to the book today the story still makes me smile. Eloise was first published in 1955 but I did not encounter her until 1985 when a tiny puffin edition arrived in my school library. I remember being intrigued by the fold out pages and ‘old fashioned’ two colour printing as well as rejoicing over the antics of the young naughty little girl.

Eloise lives at The Plaza Hotel on the top floor with her nanny. Her mother is often absent but this does not seem to bother Eloise because she has organised organised organised her day around life at the Plaza. When you look at this book take your time and really look at the faces of the hotel guests – they are so expressive. I especially love her room which is filled with untidy projects, books and toys.

How can you not fall in love with writing like this :
Then Nanny gives the signal and Weenie and Skiperdee and me we skibble out of bed as fast as everly we can and Nanny wraps us in our robe and holds us tight and I pat her on her botto which is large then we have to do our morning duties and laugh and sing.

Be warned Eloise is not politically correct.  Her Nanny smokes, her mother is absent as I mentioned and there is no reference to a father but all this is irrelevant because Eloise herself is such a delightful little character full of mischief and able to enjoy her unique life in this luxury New York City Hotel.

I wonder if Eloise might have been the inspiration for Olivia they have so much in common.

If the commercialism does not worry you take a look at the Eloise web site.  I did visit the Plaza hotel this year and I did peek inside the Eloise shop where I bought a simple postcard to celebrate this classic book character.  If you enjoy Eloise there are several other books in the series.

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