Eloise; A Book For Precocious Grown-Ups

THOMPSON, Kay (author). Hilary KNIGHT (illustrator). Eloise. A Book For Precocious Grown-Ups.

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THOMPSON, Kay (author). Hilary KNIGHT (illustrator). Eloise. A Book For Precocious Grown-Ups. London; Max Reinhardt. 1957.

4to. Original dark red linson boards lettered in black, pinkish-red pictorial endpapers, preserved in pictorial dustwrapper; pp. [ii], 7-65; illustrated on every page in line and heightened in pink throughout; with a horizontally-folded lift-up plate depicting the elevator of the Plaza Hotel; externally and internally fine, without inscription; protected by an uncommonly good example of the unclipped dustwrapper (12s 6d) which shows some dusting and rubbing, a couple of small marks to spine, slight nicking, and mild abrasions to corners and head of spine.
First UK edition of the first Eloise title, published two years after the American edition. The Hollywood actress and singer Kay Thomson (1909-1998) was actually living at New York's Plaza Hotel when she dreamt up the idea for her character Eloise, its most famous fictional resident. Working hand in hand with the fledgling illustrator Hilary Knight she launched onto the US literary scene America's legendary heroine. The six-year-old child protagonist inhabits the Plaza with her 'rawther' British nanny, absent parents, a turtle named Skiperdee, and a dog Weenie, who looks like a cat.
Eloise's energy is unbounded and her chaotic careering about the Plaza, chronicling the people she meets, and her ever more inventive methods of entertaining herself, are cleverly reflected in the breathless prose, which lacks all punctuation. There are five Eloise books in total, beginning with this title, and followed by Eloise In Paris (1957); Eloise at Christmastime (1958); Eloise in Moscow (1959), and much later, and posthumously, Eloise Takes a Bawth (2002). It is often speculated that Thompson's goddaughter Liza Minnelli was the inspiration for the character.

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