There’s a six-year-old girl my boys can’t stop talking about. I felt the same way when I discovered her in my twenties.
Kay Thompson’s Eloise (illustrated by Hilary Knight) is a known wonder and delight. If you haven’t heard of the little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, for Lord’s sake go straight to your local bookstore or library.
Written in 1955, Eloise lives and wreaks havoc at The Plaza. She cohabitates with her British Nanny, dog Weenie, turtle Skipperdee, and a visiting pigeon.
Max and Calvin can’t get over her freedom and antics. “Eloise sits on top of the car,” they tell me, jealous and concerned. She runs around The Plaza by herself. “Why is she all alone?” You never see her absent mother who “sometimes sends for her.” “Where are her parents? Why doesn’t Nanny ever give her back?” they ask. That’s a hard one to explain.
After reading the first Eloise book, we checked out Eloise in Moscow, Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmastime, and Eloise Takes a Bawth. Talk about hard to explain. Eloise in Moscow, written in 1959, depicts a lack of privacy, cold weather, and frowning locals.
“They’ll be glad when they get home, this place is really different,” Max gravely said.
I worry that Eloise Takes a Bawth may give them ideas. (Eloise floods The Plaza with her bawth.) The boys love this. I try to discourage them with my own cautionary tale of knocking over a diaper pail that leaked through the living room ceiling, making their Pop Pop (my Dad) go mad.
Oooo.. I absolutely love Eloise and I’m glad my boys do too.
Where to find the book and more info
You can find Eloise at most bookstores or public libraries.
Learn more on the official Eloise website.
Visit Hilary Knight’s website (He also illustrated Betty MacDonald’s Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. I love Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.)
Hilary is the subject of a great documentary “It’s Me, Hilary” produced by Lena Dunham. (Dunham sports an Eloise tattoo.)
I have the good fortune of having my own Eloise. Calvin says, “Her name is like the book!” She wrote a guest blog post for me in March. I absolutely love my Eloise too!