Following on the heels of Eloise at Christmastime is the re-read of Eloise in Moscow. Eloise has come to Moscow in style, riding in the Rolls Royce her grandmother had sent because, “you only go to Moscow once”. She is accompanied by Nanny, Weenie (the dog), but Skipperdee (the turtle) develops a nervous cough and is sent by diplomatic pouch back to the Plaza hotel in NYC. No reason is given for the visit beyond vague mention of Eloise being a diplomat child and once again her mother is absent.
Eloise is up to her usual hotel antics. Taking keys from the night desk and exploring room after room in the night, “No one was aware of the fact that I was a hotel child”. During the day, Eloise and Nanny are guided by the unflappable Zhenka who brusquely leads them along. The story is almost like a tour guide of Moscow as the pair go from famous landmark to famous landmark, attend the ballet, theater, and circus. They also eat their way across the city and the most consumed food by Eloise is black caviar from the Caspian Sea. Eating caviar is brought up what seems like every five pages or so. The story closes with Eloise mentioning that she is only a child of six and I’m reminded why ‘precocious’ is a label often used to describe her.
Published in 1959, it’s an interesting look at how Moscow and Russians were viewed by people in the west, “Everybody watches everybody in Moscow”. There are constant references to spies, being watched, and the danger of people listening in on conversations. In the illustrations a suspicious figure follows and can be seen lurking. The weather is bitterly cold and snowing the entire time. And for some reason Eloise is always tuning into Helsinki to listen to the radio.
I do not care for Eloise in Moscow as much as I do Eloise and Eloise at Christmastime. I’m certain a portion of that is I’m uncomfortable with the depiction of Moscow/Russia. If you are a completionist, then put this on your eventual TBR. If not, considering passing for re-reading the original or finding Eloise at Christmastime.