Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Eloise, Kay Thompson, Simon & Schuster, 1955, 65 pp

Eloise is six, she lives in the Plaza Hotel in New York City and she was the #5 bestseller on the adult fiction list in 1956. Eloise's creator, Kay Thompson, was an actress, entertainer, vocal arranger and coach for musicals, who died at 89 years of age. Hilary Knight, who drew Eloise and the illustrations for all the Eloise books is still living and drawing. I don't know of another children's picture book making the adult best seller list except for two more Eloise books in 1957 and 1958. Quite a phenomenon.

Eloise is bright, full of energy and always up to something as she darts about the hotel, "helping" the maids, the waiters and the chefs. She also attends weddings and debutante parties and even pours water down the mail chute. She is Junie B Jones and Fancy Nancy and a young version of Auntie Mame all rolled into one. She looks like my granddaughter Emma. In fact, they have similar personalities.

Of course, all kinds of merchandising followed, plus movies, etc. I am sure Kay Thompson became a wealthy woman. The book is subtitled "A book for precocious grown-ups about a little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel." Lewis Carroll, Roahd Dahl, Dr Suess and several others became famous writing books that appeal to children and make grown-ups laugh but I think Kay Thompson outshone them all.

(Eloise is usually on the picture book shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore. If not, it can be ordered for you.)


  1. Kate and Lara said "Totally!" about Eloise and Emma :) Loved your review.