Cover image for Kay Thompson's Eloise at Christmastime
Title:
Kay Thompson's Eloise at Christmastime
Author:
Thompson, Kay, 1909-1998.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
44 unnumbered pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
Originally published: 1958.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.9 0.5 34868.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.6 3 Quiz: 20620.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780689830396
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Yes
Here she is at Christmastime
Complete with tinsel and holly
Singing fa la la la lolly
And over the roar of the jingle bells
You can hear hear hear her say
It's absolutely Christmas
But I don't mind a bit
I give everyone a present
For that's the thing of it
So when it's everly Christmastime
And you're under your Christmas trees
Simply tinkle a bell and have a trinkle
And remember
Me
Eloise


Author Notes

Kay Thompson was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1911, the daughter of a local jeweler. She showed early promise as a pianist; she started to play the piano when she was four, and at sixteen played Franz Liszt with the St. Louis Symphony. Shortly afterward, she appeared as featured vocalist with a local dance band.

Thompson went to California in 1929, when she was seventeen. Her first job was as a diving instructor, but she soon found a job on the radio as a vocalist with the Mills Brothers. Later she joined Fred Waring's band in New York as a singer and arranger. She decided to produce her own radio show, which was aired over the CBS network under the name Kay Thompson and Company. The show was not as big a success as Thompson had hoped and so she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios as an arranger and composer. Beginning in 1942, she worked with MGM choreographer Robert Alton on such films as The Ziegfield Follies, The Harvey Girls, and The Kid From Brooklyn. She remained with the studio for four years until she created her own night club routine. The show opened at Ciro's night club in 1947 and was successful enough to be taken on the road. That autumn she opened in Chicago and in February 1948 she moved to Miami for a $15,000-a-week engagement. Thompson kept the act going until 1953.

Eloise's birth was unexpected. Thompson prized punctuality, but one day she was late to rehearsals with the Mills Brothers. In a high, childish voice, she made her apology. One of her co-workers said, 'Who are you, little girl?' Thompson replied, 'I am Eloise. I am 6.' The others joined in the game, each assuming a juvenile identity, and it became a regular rehearsal pastime. The routine became a book after Thompson began performing in 1954 in a one-woman show at the Plaza. While she was appearing in the hotel's Persian Room, she was introduced to an artist, Hilary Knight, and he became the illustrator of Eloise, which was subtitled A Book for Precocious Grown Ups. Thompson wrote the book during a three-month break from performing.

Later she wrote three other books about Eloise, which were also illustrated by Knight. In the first two years after Eloise came out, 150,000 copies were sold. According to records beginning in 1983, 592,000 copies of "Eloise" have been sold in the United States since then. Thompson also wrote "Kay Thompson's Miss Pooky Peckinpaugh and Her Secret Private Boyfriends Complete with Telephone Numbers," illustrated by Joe Eula. Thompson also founded Eloise Ltd., which made recordings and other products related to the Eloise character. In later years, Ms. Thompson acted in movies, including "Funny Face," and on television.

Kay Thompson died in July of 1998

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Focus: Golden Girls? The new premise in children's publishing isn't complicated: focus on books that will sell in bookstores. Just like in supermarkets, this retailing concept translates into providing product that has name recognition and brand loyalty. One manifestation of this trend has been to spin off children's literature's classic characters into toys, games, and all other conceivable merchandise until they're gyrating like tops. Call a newer take on pushing the bookstore market the revival strategy: finding unpublished manuscripts about old favorites, reissuing stories about familiar characters, and abridging classics into picture books for a younger age group than the original readers. Clearly this gambit makes sense in the bookstore world, where adult buyers reach for something--anything--that looks familiar. But how does it translate for libraries, where as professionals we prefer that our top-of-the-line brands remain just that? This fall three books (among others) were published that fit into the revival strategy. They work with varying degrees of success. The text and sketches for Madeline in America were found by Ludwig Bemelmans' grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, in the author's files. In an informative preface, Marciano describes how his grandfather met Stanley Marcus of Neiman-Marcus in the early 1950s, prompting Bemelmans to write Madeline in Texas. That book was never finished, though a truncated version was offered as a giveaway to N-M shoppers. After discovering the manuscript, Marciano researched Texas sites for background images and then completed the pictures in full color. The book is an attractive offering. Although the linework of the drawings seems less precise than in the other books, it's a delight to see the art in full color. The story is fun, too, as Madeline, Miss Clavel, and the rest of the girls ride and rope, visit an oil well, and go shopping in the "world's greatest store" (happily not identified as Neiman-Marcus.) Several additional writings are included in the book . "The Count and the Cobbler" is a short, appealing parable. "Sunshine," the story of a landlord who wants to dislodge a music teacher on Christmas Eve, features some very nice art but becomes tedious. Children won't be terribly interested in the additional matter, but the Texas adventure will be welcome for anyone craving more Madeline. Less successful is the reissue of Kay Thompson's Eloise at Christmas, the latest in the recent effort to relaunch the career of the little girl who lives at the Plaza in New York. Eloise, always less read than Madeline, evokes a hazy memory for many adults and is probably unknown to most children. Kids who don't know Eloise's story will wonder where her parents are and what she's doing running around a hotel. The hodge-podge text is hard to read aloud, right from the first rhyme: "Once there was this child / You know her I believe / Here's who she is me ELOISE / and it's Christmas eve." The best part of the Eloise series has always been Hilary Knight's bursting-with-life artwork, and that's especially true here. The very long text, bouncing all over the place, gets both support and focus in Knight's pictures, four spreads of which are new to this book. It is the pen-and-ink art juxtaposed against peppermint-pink backgrounds that makes the book worth purchasing for libraries that want to own all four Eloise titles or that have demand. Rachel Field's Hitty, is a different animal. This is not just an illustrated version of the Newbery-winning Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, nor even an illustrated abridgement. Wells takes the story in a new direction. As she admits in the author's note, when Susan Jeffers asked her to shorten the story so Jeffers could illustrate it anew, Wells "didn't want to touch it." Warned off by both booksellers and librarians, Wells soon realized even they hadn't read the book in 30 years. Consequently, she decided to give it new life. Librarians who do reread Hitty might be surprised at what they find. What readers remember, of course, is the story of a carved doll who gets lost and found all over the world. What they probably don't remember are some of the particulars: Hitty's shipwreck on a South Sea island where near-naked "savages" act "like a parcel of children." Back in America Hitty is found by black children who, along with their elders, speak a dialect that includes lots of "dis and dat" and whose white eyeballs and teeth gleam. Hitty's political incorrectness is a topic for another piece, but suffice it to say, in the Wells and Jeffers version, it's gone. So much so that in the picture of the South Sea islanders, the men are wrapped in gleaming robes down to their toes. Wells has abridged the first half of her text from Hitty, and though choppy in spots, it gives the flavor of the original and covers a good deal of ground in an abbreviated manner. Then Wells takes unexpected liberty. In the original, Hitty almost gets sent south during the Civil War. Wells brings her there and later to other new places. "Hitty's adventures tumbled suddenly into a much noiser and more diverse American landscape," Wells notes. She has indeed broadened the story, perhaps too much, with Hitty now meeting, among others, a girl in a wheelchair and Teddy Roosevelt's children. Purists will object to the changes, but there is no doubt that Jeffers and Wells have produced a genuinely beautiful book. Jeffers is at the top of her game, offering pictures that are delightful in their detail and charming in their execution. The text, which was rewritten with the permission of Field's estate, is also winning, especially when Wells begins adding her own layers, where the writing seems most comfortable. The story continually propels readers deeper into the mix of Hitty's new and original adventures, and children will be caught in a story that's true to the original in spirit if not in details. Librarians need to know that this isn't their mothers' Hitty, but finally, that may not be a bad thing. Clearly, bookstore patrons will be happy to find the oversize, attractive Hitty (and Madeline and perhaps Eloise, too) waiting to be plucked from the shelves. Librarians, however, should ask a few questions about each "new" revival: What changes have been made to the text and the art? How does the book stack up against others in the series? And perhaps most important, would this book merit purchase if it didn't have a familiar title? Unlike Hitty, not all books need a second hundred years. --Ilene Cooper


Excerpts

Excerpts

Excerpt We hang everything on our Christmas tree Ornaments big and bright and all of these sparkling icicles and twirling balls of white I always hang a star on top With angels in between Here's how many lights we have -- Thirty-seven and sixteen Copyright © 1958 by Kay Thompson Copyright © Renewed 1986/Kay Thompson Copyright © 1999 by the estate of Kay Thompson I'm rawther fond of caroling Fa la on every floor Fa la la la to catering Fa la from door to door Fa la la la fa la la lolly ting tingles of angel hair. Blow music of trinkles and drinkles of glass there's Christmas everywhere We sang Noel for 506 Silent Night for 507 We didn't sing for 509 at the request of 511 But ho ho ho and jiggeldy ping We were not dismayed We skibbled into the exit sign and sang Oh trinkles oh drinkles fa la fa lo for Lily the nightmaid Skipperdee lost a tooth singing Good King Wenceslaus But we found it behind this azalea plant hiding under this moss Copyright © 1958 by Kay Thompson Copyright © Renewed 1986/Kay Thompson Copyright © 1999 by the estate of Kay Thompson Copyright © 1999 the estate of Kay Thompson. All rights reserved.