Eloise at Christmastime – Kay Thompson

More in the Series – Eloise
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 4 out of 10.

Bechdel: 1 point
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  2 points.
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point.

So far this is my favourite Eloise book. It passes Bechdel, again on the technicality of taking “Nanny” as a name. This one has no real diversity to speak of; there aren’t even the hints that existed in the other books.

But I found Eloise a lot less spoilt and annoying in this one. Perhaps it’s just that I have a soft spot for Christmas, and I can’t help but feel for this poor little girl, growing up in a hotel, whose mother does nothing but call from the Mediterranean. “We talked for an hour and charged it like we did last Christmas Eve.” This mother needs a parenting lesson, stat. *frown*

But despite this, Eloise is irrepressible, and runs around gifting things to everyone in the hotel. There are bits of song wandering along the bottom of the page, and I like the illustrative devices in this one that show her imaginary jaunts and dreams.

The book, like the others, is fun to read, as the language trips along at an astonishing pace, Eloise’s characteristic made up words and bits of adult speech keeping it more charming than I would expect. I’ve given it one ideological point, just because there is something about this little girl that nails that Christmas spirit thing, and you get a very real sense that she is quite beloved (if in a somewhat exasperated tone sometimes) by the adults who work in this hotel.

Otherwise, there’s not much I can say about this one I didn’t say about the others. There is of course the underlying classist stuff – she is growing up in a world where everyone is her servant, and Nanny is kind, but not really parenting her effectively. I suppose the whole point is that “poor little rich girl” trope, but it’s hard to ignore. Still. It’s fun to read.

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