Where books are chronicled from beginning to end, and never stop being read.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ultimate Edition of Eloise

The fascinating world of Eloise. What can I say? I was a fan at two years old and I'm a fan today.
The Ultimate Edition of Eloise by Kay Thompson

“I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at The Plaza.”

The precocious, rawther pseudo-sophisticated Eloise was the brain-child of Kay Thompson. There are four books in this Ultimate Edition. Each story contains the amusing, childish antics of six-year-old Eloise.

Eloise lives at the Plaza Hotel stomping and sneaking throughout, creating her own brand of mischief with her daring high jinks and fantastic imagination. Her English, live-in Nanny is her only connection to the warm love that she misses from her own absentee mother. She finds herself preoccupying her loneliness with her best friends, Weenie the pug and Skipperdee the turtle. Each book is a vibrant, fun-filled, touching story of Eloise and her adventures. From New York, to Paris, to Moscow, she travels from one place to another when her mother calls for her company.

The most compelling book was Eloise in Moscow. For current readers, I believe there will be a bit of a disconnect. But when the book was originally published in 1959, Eloise in Moscow was a brow lifting, gasp-worthy story. In order to fully appreciate Thompson's story, it is necessary for the reader to do a little historical analysis on post World War II America. The 1950's was a suspicious, communist fearing, Cold-War era. Kay Thompson brought a humorous and glaring insight into the bias of a nation that was still understandably apprehensive and skeptical. Eloise brought her own childish brand of confusion and misapprehension. It was an exquisite display of the author's ability to address a serious issue, and at the same time, laugh at everyone in general.

After all, what's the point of humor if you can't laugh at yourself first?

At the heart of it all, I can't help but feel a sense of pity for the over-indulged child. Eloise never complains. She craves acceptance and attention, often finding herself in troublesome situations at her own well-meaning naughtiness. She waits in anticipation for the next time she will see her ultra rich, extremely busy mother. Eloise is brash and adorable, creating artful worlds and adventures at the horror of countless hotel guests and staff.

Kay Thompson's flair for portraying a delightful and incorrigible child coupled with Hilary Knight's marvelous drawings will bring joy to children and adults alike. If you haven't already, give Eloise a try. You won't be disappointed.

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