Eloise has always had a rather festive air about her, but when Christmastime rolls around, well, it's "Fa la la la fa la la la lolly ting tingledy here and there," of course. The bunchy-bloused, spindly-legged scamp is speaking in rhyme this time, and in typical Eloise fashion, the verse simply can't be perfectly metered, for what would be the point? She rushes around New York's Plaza Hotel on Christmas Eve, jingling, spreading Christmas cheer, tying tassels on the thermostats, and writing "Merry Christmas" on all the walls. And of course there are gifts to be delivered and wrapped:
For Weenie a roastbeef bone deluxe
For Skipperdee raisin milk
I'm giving the valet a beehive of course
made of safety pins and silk
Her asides, printed in red, are as priceless as ever: "Sometimes there is so much to do that/ I get sort of a headache around the sides and partially under it." Or in a rare vulnerable moment, "For when you are a child of six/ it's difficult to know/ if you deserve a present or not/ at Christmastime/ or so." But enough of that. "We sang Noel for 506/ Silent Night for 507/ We didn't sing for 509/ at the request of 511."
Hilary Knight's pen and ink pink-and-black illustrations are perfect--particularly of the "sugar plums" dancing in Eloise's head on Christmas Eve, complete with crazed elves, Nanny-as-angel, reindeer with glasses, and of course Santa's sleigh with one giant package in it... for Eloise. Kay Thompson's Eloise at Christmastime, first published in 1958 with a different cover, joins Eloise in Paris and The Absolutely Essential Eloise (with additional historical scrapbook) as a much welcomed reissue of the original. And there's always just Eloise. (Ages 5 to 105) --Karin Snelson