Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition

Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition

4.1 29
by Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight

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Meet the man who made Eloise "not yet pretty but already a person..." -- acclaimed illustrator Hilary Knight. With his lively line drawings and marvelous imagination, Knight captured the spirit of Kay Thompson's rambunctious character, Eloise -- and brought the naughty yet lovable little girl to life!

barnesandnoble.com: For the last 35 years, only the original


Meet the man who made Eloise "not yet pretty but already a person..." -- acclaimed illustrator Hilary Knight. With his lively line drawings and marvelous imagination, Knight captured the spirit of Kay Thompson's rambunctious character, Eloise -- and brought the naughty yet lovable little girl to life!

barnesandnoble.com: For the last 35 years, only the original book, Kay Thompson's , has been available. Why did the sequels go out of print at all?

Hilary Knight: Kay felt the other books detracted from the original (a very few agreed with her). I am thrilled they are coming back into print. When I do signings, the most asked question (after "Do you get writer's cramp?"...I don't) is when will we get the other books back? Now you will -- and Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition contains all sorts of additions, biographical notes, and unpublished photos and sketches.

bn: As an artist, who has had the greatest influence on your work?

HK: I grew up in a great period, the '20s, '30s, and '40s. Commercial and decorative art were at their inventive height, and my parents [artists Katharine Sturges and Clayton Knight] being part of it helped me decide that was the direction I wanted. In their library and on my bookshelves were the books that inspired me -- illustrations by Edmund Dulac and Ernest Shepard made me want to be an illustrator.

bn: How did you end up being the one to illustrate Eloise?

HK: It was Kay and me from the beginning. Our mutual friend (and my neighbor), a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar, D. D. Dixon, got us together, and we became an instant team. It was a thrilling part of my life.

bn: Eloise is the quintessential six-year-old. Is she modeled after a real little girl?

HK: Eloise is the alter ego of Kay Thompson but was visually inspired by a painting my mother had done in the 1930s. "Quintessential" suggests that there are more like her out there -- that's just not possible.

bn: Have you ever stayed at the Plaza Hotel?

HK: I'm waiting for Eloise to ask me for a weekend.

bn: For Eloise in Paris, you and Kay Thompson actually traveled to France together. Can you talk a little bit about that trip?

HK: All of the Eloise books were done in close collaboration from the start. Kay and I worked night and day at the Plaza in New York, then in hotels in Paris and Moscow. If you love laughing a lot, eating delectable meals, and having the best time of your life, it was absolutely great -- it certainly wasn't work.

bn: Did you have any pets when you were a child, such as a dog or a turtle, like Eloise?

HK: I cannot recall a moment in time when my family didn't have pets -- dogs, cats, finches, gerbils, and turtles. I think they are a vital part of life, as Weenie and Skipperdee are to Eloise.

bn: How much research did you do at the Plaza Hotel before you illustrated Eloise ?

HK: I have sketchbooks bursting with drawings and notes. If the Plaza should vanish one day for some mysterious reason, come to me -- I'll reconstruct it for you.

bn: What have you been up to since illustrating the last Eloise book? Where else have your drawings appeared?

HK: I've kept at it. I love work. I have illustrated over 50 books that do not feature Eloise (9 of which I also wrote), and I've done greeting cards, CD covers, Broadway show posters, and lots of magazine illustrations. Recently, I've contributed regularly to Neiman Marcus's catalogue, "The Book," and Vanity Fair magazine.

bn: Your name is unusual for a man. Is there a story behind the origin of your name?

HK: When I was born in the 1920s, Hilary was a man's name. My father, a pilot in World War I, had a good friend and fellow flyer named Hilary. He liked the name and passed it on to me in 1926.

bn: What do you say to people who insist that Eloise is a "girls' book"?

HK: Any boy or girl can respond to another child who has the great luck to have an entire hotel as a playground. And boys will love Eloise in Moscow -- lots of spies and mystery and not a trace of pink.

bn: What's on the horizon for Eloise after the re-release of the three sequels and the new tribute book, Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition?

HK: There will be dolls, some very special items that only Eloise would approve of, and something she always wanted to be...a movie star. And perhaps a new Eloise adventure....

bn: What do you tell kids when they ask you if Eloise really lives at the Plaza?

HK: Of course she lives at the Plaza! But she is a free spirit and exceedingly nimble -- just when you think she's in the lobby, you hear from the elevator operator that she's on the top floor. That's Eloise.

Q&A courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Eloise was first introduced to readers in 1955. Back then, she was described as the first "naughty little girl" in a book, allowing readers to push aside such goody-two-shoes as Heidi and Nancy Drew. She was the little rich girl who was allowed to misbehave, create, explore, and live independently. And, all in New York City's Plaza Hotel! Today, some forty-plus years later, Eloise is still considered naughty, although, the current expression may be "spirited." This six-year-old runs freely from floor to floor, exclaiming what she likes, loves, and does. There are no periods at the end of sentences, making Eloise's jabber endless and tireless. The black and white ink illustrations with splashes of red and pink are as unpredictable, energetic, and spontaneous as the character herself. The scrapbook that accompanies this text was written in 1999 and includes biographical information about the author as well as the illustrator. One learns about the remarkable relationship between the two as well as the history of Eloise herself. This addendum allows the reader to get "up close and personal" with all the magnificent spirits involved in the book and primarily with Eloise herself. 2003 (orig. 1955), Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers,
— Andrea Sears Andrews
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Eloise lives! Woman-about-New York-and-Hollywood Kay Thompson invented Eloise as a six-year-old alter ego, and with the notable assistance of Hilary Knight's witty and wise drawings, Eloise entered world consciousness in 1955. The original books are now being reprinted to deserved hoopla. Who could resist joining the motherless enfant terrible as she terrorizes the Plaza Hotel in company with Nanny, Weenie the pug, and Skipperdee the turtle? Brenner's addended scrapbook fills in the void of years with lots of Thompson, Knight, and Eloise photos and nostalgia. The package is fun and will delight old-timers, as well as initiate new youngsters to the myth. 1999 (orig.
Sarah Ferrell
Eloise has just been repackaged as Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition, in which the original story and illustrations are augmented by a scrapbook and appreciation by Marie Brenner and Hilary Knight's brief autobiography, delightfully illustrated with what amounts to Eloise's family tree.
The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Eloise Series
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 11.13(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
3 Months to 9 Years

Meet the Author

Kay Thompson (1909-1998) was a singer, dancer, vocal arranger, and coach of many MGM musicals in the 1940s.

The Eloise character grew out of the voice of a precocious six-year-old that Miss Thompson put on to amuse her friends. Collaborating with Hilary Knight on what was an immediate bestseller, Kay Thompson became a literary sensation when Eloise was published in 1955. The book has sold more than two million copies to date. Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight created four more Eloise books, Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmas, Eloise in Moscow, and Eloise Takes a Bawth.

Hilary Knight, son of artist-writers Clayton Knight and Katharine Sturges, was educated at the Art Students League, where he studied with Reginald Marsh. Besides the Eloise books, Hilary Knight has illustrated more than fifty books for children, six of which he wrote himself.

He lives and works in New York City, not far from The Plaza Hotel.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 9, 1909
Date of Death:
July 2, 1998
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Washington University

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Eloise 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was just reviewing books in the teens section and decided to review some books I read when I was younger :D This book was good! Eloise always made me happy and cheered me up because she's so funny and energectic! I guess I had blonde hair and kinda looked like her when I was little and even though my name is Skylar my aunt would always call me Eloise because I was so hyper!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story and illustrations but too difficult to read on my Color Nook. In order to read the captions of the illustrations, I had to enlarge the screen, then had to resize to normal in order to turn the page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mother used to read Eloise to me and my sister when we were little, and we always laughed! She is such a naughty little girl, but only because she's trying to be helpful. Such a busy body! I recommend this book for both boys and girls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eloise was my favorite when I was younger, & I cannot wait to share her stories with my little girl. Definitely a must have for any child's library!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Might be okay for older girls....too long for my 3 yr old who usually sits through the longest books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was at the video store with my cousin. She wanted to get Eloise at the plaza. I said fine. We loved the movie so we disided to get the book. The book is so good i love to read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eloise is such a fun and energic kid to read about!! She way to much spunk and that's a great thing to! The whole book makes you laugh and you will enjoy trust me on this one!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eloise is a six year old girl who lives at the Plaza hotel in New York City with her Nanny, her pet bulldog Weenie and her pet turtle Skiperdee. Eloise loves to rampage around in the Plaza while helping all of the staff there. She would rather run around than sit still like Nanny wishes that she would. But I guess that's just the Eloise way! Eloise has many, many friends in and out the Plaza (Bill, Prunella, Mr. Salmoneli, and Mr. Peabody to name a few) and she decides that she is the one and only person to help around the Plaza. If you are looking for a book that will give you stitches in your sides from laughing so much, then I 'rather' suggest that you buy one of the many Eloise books, if not all of them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read this book about a million times since I was twelve...and loved it more every time! Eloise is simply irrepresible, and just what all of us wish we'd had the courage to be as a child (or maybe even now!) Fantastic for children and adults alike (truly!), this book is one to be cherished and read again, again, again!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eloise is the funniest and mischeivious little 6 year old that I have ever met! She knows everyone in the plaza,and she has 2 pets that live with Eloise and her Nanny. They sing in the morning and Eloise has adventors at night. She hates school and absolutely despises her tutor. Eloise is a book for all ages!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mostly companion and I are 16 and still love love love little miss Eloise. This book is one of the special tokens of our friendship, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has ever been or known a little girl. It's amazingly fun to read, and is actually totally realistic. Every step Eloise takes reminds me of myself as a first grader. This mischievous little girly can't be passed up, and if you bring her home you won't regret it! I 100% promise you that. So go on and charge it please thank you very much. The end!
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DichterPR More than 1 year ago
Classic! I'm surprised anyone would think otherwise. Just a riot!
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I love this book it is great
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