I grew up loving Eloise, a precocious brat with a charmed life, living to the fullest of her (mostly) unsupervised life. However, I was unaware that there were multiple Eloise books until I worked at Border Books (RIP) corporate headquarters and had the amazing job of overseeing the free book room. I did other stuff too but that was the best part of my job. One day The Ultimate Edition of Eloise came through the room and I was surprised to find out there are three other Eloise books. It came home and went on the shelf for that unspecified day when I might reproduce. We are currently re-reading the books aloud at bedtime and most recently finished the book I’m reviewing, Eloise at Christmastime.
It is Christmas eve and Eloise, Nanny, Weenie (the pug), and Skipperdee (the turtle) are just kicking into action to decorate and celebrate, in rhyme. Along the way, Eloise interjects with little asides and a silly made up Christmas song runs along the bottom of many of the pages. Eloise is up to her usual antics, creating some chaos in the Plaza as she runs around spreading Christmas cheer. Similar to the elevator diagram in the first book, showing how she moves around the Plaza wreaking havoc with the elevators, this book contains a diagram showing how she runs, leaps, skibbles, zaps, and zimbers around the ground floor of the hotel as she hangs holly and berries in the halls, tassels on the thermostats, and writes Merry Christmas on the walls.
Inside her apartment with Nanny it’s all sweets and decorating and then Eloise is off again to deliver presents to the hotel staff. I’ve often wondered of what the Plaza staff thought of this tiny terror who adjusts thermostats, dumps water down the mail shoot, ‘assists’ with setting up ballrooms for events, and roams around generally being a nuisance. But Christmas finds Eloise thoughtfully gifting bellboys, waiters, room service, the barber, the caterer, the doorman, and even the carriage horse who stands across the street.
Afterwards it’s carols with Nanny and a long distance call from her absent mother, then off to bed and dreams of Christmas. In the wee hours of the morning, Eloise wakens Nanny and the gift exchange between child, nurse, dog, turtle, and Emily the pigeon commences. But what is that knocking on the door? The hotel staff have come to thank Eloise for their presents and are delighted with the gifts. She had clearly thought what each person would appreciate the most. This story shows, that as abhorrent as her behavior can seem, Eloise cares for the people who make her life possible and despite the drama is clearly friends with them as well.
While I’m not certain how this story would land if you don’t have knowledge of the first Eloise, Eloise at Christmastime is a delightful book, if you like Eloise I’m confident you’ll like this story too. It is also a lovely Christmas story focused on celebrating the season and sharing joy, not the material wanting of things.