Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Picture Books from the Past: Eloise

Eloise is a little girl that lives at The Plaza Hotel in

New York City. And she absolutely loves it!”

Kay Thompson’s Eloise has been delighting readers for almost 60 years. Originally published in 1955, the story of a sassy, self-proclaimed “city child” never fails to entertain both children and the young at heart. In this book, six-year-old Eloise gives readers a tour and full play-by-play of her daily life at The Plaza Hotel. Throughout her day, Eloise is rather busy as she encounters dozens of fascinating people (not all of whom seem to share Eloise’s enjoyment about their encounters) and gets into all sorts of mischief.

Eloise has quite the active imagination and it would seem, from her point of view, that The Plaza would not be able to function without her daily activities. It certainly would not be as interesting!

Kay Thompson’s writing is wonderfully appropriate for the six-year-old mind of Eloise. As is customary with a busy little bee like her, Eloise never punctuates her statements and is prone to bouncing around from one thought to the next with no warning. Other times, Eloise carries her thoughts right onto the next page with not so much as a pause. Especially those who enjoy getting into character while reading a book aloud,

Ooooooooooooooo you will absolutely love Eloise.

It’s rather difficult to keep up with Eloise flitting about the hotel, but thanks to Hilary Knight’s marvelous illustrations, the story is never confusing. For while the text itself is charming, the illustrations of Eloise are the true treasure of the book. Although Hilary Knight only chose to use shades of pink along with the customary black and white, the pictures are anything but boring.

"I have my own room
It has a coat rack which is as large as me"

Each page, whether it showcases one, two, or eight snapshots of Eloise’s adventures, keeps the reader smiling until the very last page. The expressions of Eloise and those around her add so much to the story (and often tell much more than what Eloise is trying to say…). There are dozens of details within each page that the reader notices a little more each time he or she picks up the book. Finally, the placement of Eloise’s thoughts within the illustrations brings the entire book together. The layout of each page is absolutely perfect and wonderfully dynamic to keep the attention of the reader.

Altogether Eloise remains, as it has for 57 years, a fantastic book for children of all ages. It brings audiences into a world of excitement and silliness that can only be attained by this privileged, pampered rascal. Be cautioned though, you or your young readers may pick up some mischievous ideas of your own.

Happy reading, everyone!

-Jill Dona

P.S. If you can’t get enough of Eloise’s playful spirit, don’t worry! There are six other stories that she has told. Click here for the full list!

1 comment:

  1. Jill.. This post gives an intelligent and very well thought out review of Eloise. But more importantly this post is aesthetically pleasing and a wonderful wash of pink and black to mirror the illustrations within the book itself. Wonderful job!!