Eloise at Christmastime

Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
Eloise at Christmastime Book Poster Image
Eloise skitters through the holiday in charming sequel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational value

Kids learn a little about the daily workings of a hotel as Eloise scampers from floor to floor, engaging with staff and guests.

Positive messages

Eloise is absolutely exuberant as she spreads Christmas cheer throughout the Plaza Hotel. "We sang Noel for 506/ Silent Night for 507/ We didn't sing for 509/ at the request of 511."

Positive role models & representations

Nanny has her hands full taking care of Eloise, but she is ever patient and fun-loving. Eloise is a troublemaker, but she has fond friendships with Nanny, the hotel staff, her pug, Weenie, and turtle, Skipperdee. And she is resilient, having fun living at the Plaza while her mom travels abroad.

Violence & scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Eloise tale features the same plucky 6-year-old heroine who lives in a hotel with her nanny and likes to cause mischief -- writing "Merry Christmas" on a hotel corridor wall, for example. Kids may be sad for Eloise that her ever-traveling mom isn't around to share Christmas with her.

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What's the story?

It's Christmas Eve, and Eloise's excitement runs high; she leaps and jingles through the Plaza Hotel. She sings carols on every floor and jumps down the hall in a Christmas stocking. She helps Nanny \"candy the apples\" and trim the tree and wrap presents. Her mother calls from the Caribbean, and then it's time for bed. Eloise has a dream of hot plum pudding with \"extra cream cream cream.\" At dawn on Christmas morning, wrapping paper flies as she and Nanny open presents. Eloise receives a diamond necklace, and her friend the pigeon gives birth.

Is it any good?

The cartoon-like black, white, and red drawings by Hilary Knight are what hold this book together. Kids find endless details to delight them, although even 8-year-olds may become impatient to turn the page to see what's next during the long-winded verse.

In the last decades of Kay Thompson's life, she refused to allow ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME to remain in print. After her death, the publishers reissued it (with four new pages), but it isn't quite up to the greatness of the original. Written in rhyme, it squashes one of the greatest joys of Eloise: her breathless talk-talk-talk. Although asides in red add to the fun, such as, "Sometimes there is so much to do that/ I get sort of a headache around the sides and partially under it."

Fans know Eloise's mother is famous and busy, but her absence at Christmas, of all times, is more disturbing. And it seems out of character for Eloise to admit that perhaps she hasn't been good enough during the year to deserve presents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different ways to celebrate the holidays. What holiday traditions do you like in your family? Do you like what Eloise does to celebrate Christmas?

  • Many people think of Christmas as a celebration best enjoyed at home. Can you imagine what it would be like to spend the holiday in a hotel? Are there ways that it could be even more fun?

  • This is one of several books in the original Eloise series. How do you think it compares to the other books?

Book details

For kids who love holidays

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