Book of the Month: Kindergarten

Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups

"I am Eloise. I am six." So begins the well-loved story of Eloise, the garrulous little girl who lives at New York's Plaza Hotel. Eyebrow raised defiantly, arm propped on one jutting hip, Eloise is a study in self-confidence. Eloise's personal mandate is "Getting bored is not allowed," so she fills her days to the brim with wild adventures and self-imposed responsibilities. An average Eloise afternoon includes braiding her pet turtle's ears, ordering "one roast-beef bone, one raisin and seven spoons" from room service, and devising innovative methods of torture for her guardians. Eloise's exploits are non-stop, and—accordingly—the text uses nary a period.

Kay Thompson perfectly captures the way children speak: in endless sentences elongated with "and then... and then... and then...." Hilary Knight's drawings illustrate Eloise's braggadocio and amusement as well as the bewilderment of harassed hotel guests. Eloise's taunts are terrible, her imagination inimitable, her pace positively perilous. Her impertinence will delight readers of all ages.

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