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Eloise Meet Eloise, the precocious darling of the Plaza Hotel Eloise is a little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York She is not yet pretty but she is already a Person Henry James would want to study her Queen Victoria would recognize her as an Equal The New York Jets would want to have her on their side Lewis Carroll would love her once he got over the initial shock She knows everything about The Plaza She is interested in people when they are not boring She has Inner Resources If you take her home with you, you will always be glad you did I do not like Eloise I hesitate to say this about a young child, even a fictional one But I found this little girl and her life at the Plaza hotel mostly depressinga poor little rich girl, merely endured by most of the adults around her and not endured at all by her parents dad is not mentioned at all, and mom is off jet setting I did finish reading it to my 6yo, but it was a trudge Caro didn t really stay engaged either, though that may have been because of my reading, can t tel I do not like Eloise I hesitate to say this about a young child, even a fictional one But I found this little girl and her life at the Plaza hotel mostly depressinga poor little rich girl, merely endured by most of the adults around her and not endured at all by her parents dad is not mentioned at all, and mom is off jet setting I did finish reading it to my 6yo, but it was a trudge Caro didn t really stay engaged either, though that may have been because of my reading, can t tell In any case, her questions and comments, normally a regular feature of a readaloud, petered out pretty early in the book, and she hasn t asked for it again.For a girl with an exciting life unsupervised by parents, give me Pippi Longstocking over Eloise, anyday This book should be titled How to be a spoiled little bitch I asked my little boy if he s like to read some books the other day, and he brought over this one, asking if I d read it next I d never read it before, which is fine with me I like to read him new books Too much repetition can get wearying to me But this book Seriously It pissed me off I ve read bad children s books before Books with bad stories Books that were nausiating with sweetness and love Books that were obviously This book should be titled How to be a spoiled little bitch I asked my little boy if he s like to read some books the other day, and he brought over this one, asking if I d read it next I d never read it before, which is fine with me I like to read him new books Too much repetition can get wearying to me But this book Seriously It pissed me off I ve read bad children s books before Books with bad stories Books that were nausiating with sweetness and love Books that were obviously just a vehicle for someone to poke their religion into an unsuspecting child But this one actually made me want to rage quit What bothers methan anything is that this is a classic book I m guessing a lot of you grew up reading it I just looked online and found hundreds of reviewers gushing about how charming and Mawhvelous a character Eloise is But she s not Eloise is a little bitch She s six years old, and uses the Plaza as her personal playground She bothers people in the lobby She bothers people in the elevators She says one of her favorite things to do is run down the hallway with sticks, hitting the doors of other guests She crashes other people s weddings The manager of the hotel says she s a nuisance But he says it with a forced smile on his face Why Because Eloise tells us that her mom knows the owner which is apparently why she lives in the penthouse and gets to do whatever she wants.And that s it That s the whole story, just her running around, amusing herself, making up games, and being a little monster Forever Where are her parents She has none A father is never mentioned at all, and her mother is away somewhere, busy meeting important people My mother knows Coco Chanel Instead she has a nanny A nanny who apparently spends most of the day up in the penthouse sniffing glue, because Eloise is never supervised when she s running around the hotel There s no moment when she feels compassion for anyone No moment where she doesn t get her way No one ever criticizes her At the end of the book she thinks to herself, Maybe tomorrow I ll pour a pitcher of water down the mail chute The end No moral She doesn t learn anything Doesn t change She is just a little bitch Here s the one thing I ll say for it Back when it was written, in the early 50 s, it was probably wonderfully refreshing for little girls to see a little girl misbehaving A little girl with power A little girl living a wish fulfillment life where she does whatever she likes, never gets in trouble, everyone has to be nice to her, and she eats room service ever day But today, in 2013 Do you honestly think that s something kids need to learn Fuck no You know what Eloise reminds me of She reminds me of a stereotypical American The sort of American that people believe in over in Germany and Spain and China She is loud, spoiled, rude, and entitled And she never, ever gets in trouble No one ever even speaks a hard word to her I m not saying this book doesn t has it s charming parts The voice is good The art is good The book wouldn t have been a success without those things But is it a good book for children in this day and age No No it really isn t Not unless you re trying to show your kids a good example of how to act like total little unlovable bastards.Let s just be clear here Eloise isn t precocious she s not a scamp She is a little monster She s the sort of child that if you saw her in real life, you d look up at her parents who would probably be ignoring her while sipping half decaf lattes and thumb typing on their iphones and say, Hey You Yeah you Get over her and control your fucking demon spawn of a child She just tipped over a magazine rack and is pouring all the cream into the toilet What Yes I d say that is your problem No No, she s not a free spirit You re a careless idiot She s your responsibility Be a goddamn parent for five minutes and institute some discipline And then I would just start choking people until I went to jail So yeah Didn t like this book much I don t recommend it FIVE EXPANSIVE BOOKS SET IN CLOSE QUARTERS 5 This summer, the Wall Street Journal asked me to pick five books I admired that were somehow reminiscent of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW To that end, I wrote on five works in which the action is confined to a small space, but in which the reader somehow experiences the world Here is 5 On the second page of Kay Thompson s Eloise, our intrepid young heroine is seen entering New York s Plaza Hotel with a fitting salute to the doorman and that is the last FIVE EXPANSIVE BOOKS SET IN CLOSE QUARTERS 5 This summer, the Wall Street Journal asked me to pick five books I admired that were somehow reminiscent of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW To that end, I wrote on five works in which the action is confined to a small space, but in which the reader somehow experiences the world Here is 5 On the second page of Kay Thompson s Eloise, our intrepid young heroine is seen entering New York s Plaza Hotel with a fitting salute to the doorman and that is the last we see of the outside world For the remainder of the book, we remain at Eloise s side, as she wreaks havoc in every nook and cranny of the hotel Eloise may entertain children, but it enlightens adults For claustrophobia is a malady of the mature To gain its foothold on the human consciousness, claustrophobia needs an ebbing of the imagination, curiosity, and self assurance Eloise, who has seen no ebb in any of these traits, finds plenty to entertain herself within the walls of the Plaza As we turn the pages, she generously reminds us that should we ever feel the least bit stir crazy, thermostats can be adjusted, sweets can be pilfered, ladders can be scampered up, formal affairs attended without invitation, and when all else fails Paper cups are very good for talking to Mars Then when your busy day is done, you get room service But don t forget to tell the person of the other end of the line And charge it please I am giving this five stars because Eloise has so much VOICE it is unbelievable and deeply touching slightly disturbing, slightly heartbreaking humorous then obnoxious, then endearing Knight s illustrations capture all of this perfectly I believe there are many interpretations to Eloise s story For one, it is full of the imaginings of childhood and the delicious freedom of having an entire hotel in which to pursue one s whims For another, it is the story of a very naughty little girl who I am giving this five stars because Eloise has so much VOICE it is unbelievable and deeply touching slightly disturbing, slightly heartbreaking humorous then obnoxious, then endearing Knight s illustrations capture all of this perfectly I believe there are many interpretations to Eloise s story For one, it is full of the imaginings of childhood and the delicious freedom of having an entire hotel in which to pursue one s whims For another, it is the story of a very naughty little girl who annoys pretty much anyone in her path but gets away with it because she is spoiled and her mother pays for everything Personally, I found it a remarkably tender and tragic story about a six year old girl who is forced to grow up in a hotel, parented by her nanny, befriending only those who work at the hotel, while her mother galivants across Europe meeting Coco Chanel and buying ATT stock Now, I am not excusing Eloise s horrid behavior, but I do think it has some foundations in lack of parenting It is heartbreaking to see Eloise is always packed and ready in case her mother should send for her if there is sun in France Or that is is always emulating the speech patterns of her nanny clearly the biggest influence in her life Since being bored is not allowed, Eloise devises the most crazy games some of them are innocent and adorable using plastic cups in the bath to call Mars and others are quite obnoxious pouring water down the mail chute, banging sticks along the doors of hotel guests Don t get me wrong, there is a lot of humor in this story some of Eloise s phrases are laugh out loud funny and the illustrations are a riot, but overall I just felt it was a very sad sort of story I couldn t quite believe that Eloise is truly happy.FOR GROWN UPS, PLEASE READ ON reference to drugs and alcohol in following quotes I am curious to learnabout Thompson s intent, especially as the subtitle is A book for precocious grownups On the Eloise website it addresses some of the changes, and apparently it WAS a book for grown ups originally Over the years, there have been editing changes to the text of the story These changes took place at different points in time Edits were made, perhaps as the book moved to the children s genre although Eloise still has a gin bottle in her room page 20 21 Here are the changes from the original 1955 release and today Page 33 Here s what I like to do Make things up Here s what I hate Peter Rabbit The reference to Peter Rabbit has been removed and now just reads Here s what I like to do Make things up Note, there is Here s what I hate Howdy Doody on page 60 that has remained.Page 41 Removed is a small picture of Eloise stepping on the floor pedal to flush a toilet The caption reads I go to the Powder Room as often as I can You just step on it Page 43 There are absolutely nothing but rooms in the Plaza now reads There are absolutely nothing but rooms in the Plaza Ooooooooooooo I absolutely love the Plaza Page 50 My mother knows Lily Dach now reads My mother knows Coco Chanel More people must know the famous designer Chanel than Dach , a French born milliner who established a flourishing hat business in the United States with made to order creations.Page 51 Referring to her mother, Eloise states She goes to Europe and Paris And when she goes to Miami she stays at the Roney and sends for me if there s some sun now reads She goes to Europe and Paris and sends for me if there s some sun On the same page, as Eloise talks about her mother s laywer, she finishes with Here s what he likes Martinis Here s what I like Grass That now reads Here s what he likes Martinis Here s what I like Dandelions Kay Thompson addressed this change in the 1969 The New York Times article Pity the Plaza Eloise Is Back in Town There s a whole generation grown up in the last decade that will be looking at her with fresh eyes, Thompson said happily The wife of a young friend of mine read Eloise recently and where she talks about her mother s lawyer it says, Here s what he likes Martinis Here s what I like Grass Do you know she asked me if I meant marijuana, I told her no but to read it any way she wanted to Methinks Thompson was not the typical children s book author haha Full article

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