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Eloise in Moscow Hardcover – March 1, 2000

21 customer reviews
Book 4 of 5 in the Eloise Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Eloise gets more outlandish with each book in Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight's popular 1950s series. First published in 1951--when cold war sentiments were heating up--Eloise in Moscow showcases the highly undiplomatic exploits of our favorite precocious 6-year-old as she paints the town red with her beloved Nanny. Adults will relish this glimpse behind the Iron Curtain, complete with a foldout spread of the Kremlin that is positively suitable for framing ("Here's what they/ have in the Kremlin/ armor Easter eggs/ icons/ and clocks," "Ivan is terrible/ and is watching in this tower"). The usual pink, black, and white color scheme is absent here--Knight's pen-and-ink drawings are instead accented with a rich goldenrod, and in the foldout Kremlin, even oranges and greens.

After a three-week stay in Moscow with her colleague Hilary Knight, Kay Thompson had plenty of fodder for her distinctly Eloisian travelogue: the food ("It is difficult to know what to eat in Moscow/ There is no melon in season/ Nichevo"); the stilted English of their tour guide ("That house is Chekhov/ That house is Stanislavsky if you want to see it/ No you cannot it is reconstruction"); national security ("Our telephone had quite a bit of static/ so we talked about General de Gaulle/ to throw them off track/ Everybody listens to everything in Moscow"); and even the water ("The water is Russian so I brushed my teeth/ with/ pear lemonade and apple lemonade/ Actually I preferred/ the pear").

Children will be fascinated by the intricate, delicately skritched details of this 72-page picture book, but adults will surely be the most amused. Fortunately, in the wake of Eloise's Russian junket, the Kremlin wall is left standing, and there are no international repercussions. But is she, as she haughtily declares, an "absolutely darling little sweetnik"? Definitely nyet. And that's the way we like her. If your Eloise library is incomplete, which would be sad, be sure to investigate Eloise in Paris; Eloise at Christmastime; The Absolutely Essential Eloise (complete with historical scrapbook); or the original recipe, Eloise. (Best for grownups--or as a read-aloud for ages 7 and older) --Karin Snelson

About the Author

Kay Thompson (1909–1998) was a singer, dancer, vocal arranger, and coach of many MGM musicals in the 1940s. The Eloise character grew out of the voice of a precocious six-year-old that Miss Thompson put on to amuse her friends. Collaborating with Hilary Knight on what was an immediate bestseller, Kay Thompson became a literary sensation when Eloise was published in 1955. The book has sold more than two million copies to date. Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight created four more Eloise books, Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmas, Eloise in Moscow, and Eloise Takes a Bawth.

Hilary Knight, son of artist-writers Clayton Knight and Katharine Sturges, was educated at the Art Students League, where he studied with Reginald Marsh. Besides the Eloise books, Hilary Knight has illustrated more than fifty books for children, six of which he wrote himself. He lives and works in New York City, not far from The Plaza Hotel.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Series: Eloise
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689832117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689832116
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robin on March 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am so glad this book has come back into print. This was the only Eloise book I read as a kid; my mom got it at a discard sale from the public library in the late 70s, where they were getting rid of it because of its (no longer politically correct) cold war sentiments. That being said, I adored the book. As a four year-old, I had no idea of the political implications of the book. All I knew was that I wanted to be just like Eloise, and Moscow seemed like the most glamourous, exciting place I had ever heard of. Eloise's adventures in Moscow are hilarious and engaging; the illustrations are terrific with a wonderful attention to detail. The story and artwork combine to give a really vivid impression of 1950s Moscow, and I have to say even as an adult, I still wish I could visit there. Of course as an adult you get a whole different story from the book, it's an interesting commentary on American views of Russia during the cold war. Also, the guy that shadows Eloise throughout her trip and appears on each page can make a fun "Where's Waldo"-type game for kids reading (or being read to from) this book. One of my absolute favorites from childhood.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. Powell on February 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My girls and I love the Eloise series, this one included. The age group to understand this book is a bit older than the others, say 11 or 12. All the cold war references led to interesting discussions of the cold war and the failure of Communism.
On the light side this book reads very well out loud. It helps if you have a deep voice to say as the intra tourist guide "IS POSSIBLE TO SEE BOOK REVIEWS HERE." "IS NOT POSSIBLE TO HOLD BOOKS, BOOKS ARE SENT AFTER BOUGHT" (While not a quote from the book, it reads like it.)
The book's view of the world does feel dated. It's like reading a Cowboys vs Indian's book and having to explain that perhaps not all is as it appears. Russia is not what it was, but it's not the west yet.
The quality of the paper and the binding are excellent, it feels like it will last for multiple reading. There is a nice foldout of the Kremlin. Like all the Eloise books, the drawings are inked in one color, this one uses yellow to great effect. The paper jacket is an exact copy of the hard cover underneath which is great as the text on it is wonderful.
If you like the other Eloise books, you'll like this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mona Gracen on March 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is definitely a "thinking book" and may be too much for the younger kiddies. However, as a grown up fan of Eloise - I grew up loving the original Eloise book - I have to say that this book is a must have if you love Eloise! I definitely liked this book better than Eloise in Paris. It really captures the feelings of the Cold War age and makes me try to picture Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight's actual trip. Kay Thompson sounds like she must've been an amazing individual. This book is especially valuable on a pseudo-historical level. VERY enjoyable. Beautiful art work as usual! Say YES YES YES to Eloise - she's simply marvelous!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Rowan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Possibly the quirkiest of a quirky series, "Eloise in Moscow" is a delight. There is hardly a creature on earth more likely to confound early cold war Soviet society than Eloise, and here she runs roughshod over guides, interpreters, spies and everyone else whose job it is to see her safely around and out of Moscow. Skibbling down strange hallways, dancing in the snow with the babushkas or attempting to communicate in Russian ("Charge it, pajalsta, and thank you very much.") Eloise, as always, leaves us wanting more. Almost impossible to find before now, this is a must-have for Eloise fans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pam Granger on November 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As an Ex-Pat living in Moscow during 2001, I wanted a book to share with the little ones we know in the United States. This book is not only funny bit accurate. The middle pull out of the Kremlin is supurb and everyone who has received it from us has loved it. I have a copy of one myself so I can look back on my experiences living here and laugh at some of the same ones Eloise and I have had.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on December 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Eloise books are treasures but this one is something more than the expected delightful romp through the world from the perspective of a precocious child. Pay close attention here and you'll find yourself reading what surely has to rank as one of the most perceptively realistic takes on what life was like in Cold War Moscow. Bread lines, censorship, spies everywhere, an unwelcoming land with cold, sterile cityscapes, and suspicion everywhere. `Bleak' is a good word for the culture Eloise encounters and Kay Thompson describes. So what is here is both another joyful trip out with our spunky six-year-old heroine, and a deceivingly focused presentation on how dreary Soviet life was fifty years ago. (And how lucky we in the west are to have the freedom and prosperity we do!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cornelia A. Walton on October 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Get out your woolies and fur hats, Eloise is going to Moscow! In the funniest of Eloise's many escapades, she travels to the Russia of the 1950s with Nanny, Winnie, and Skipperdee in tow. Apart from her usual hotel antics, including spying on the other guests and dinning on black caviar from the Caspian Sea, Eloise has many mischievous adventures at the Bolshoi Ballet, Red Square, and inside the Kremlin. While young children will not understand all the humor in this and other Eloise books, they certainly still love the outrageous heroine Eloise, who's expressions and intentions are so vividly portrayed by Hilary Knight's illustrations. Eloise in Moscow continues Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight's tradition of hilarious books for precocious grown-ups.
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