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
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.