Eloise

“Here’s what he likes
Martinis

Here’s what I like
Dandelions”
(Kay Thompson’s Eloise)

In writing about Eloise, I am aware that I am only adding my name to a long, long list of completely devoted fans. But I must say that the scantily illustrated picture book won my heart and soul almost immediately, as only George and Martha ever has. Since so much has been said about this cheerful little book over the years, I’ll spend my two cents talking about a seemingly insignificant point: grammar.

After writing down the quotation for this post, I started to notice that Eloise is simply above the use of grammar. In a cursory look over the text, I found only one period in the book. Even though I would turn my nose up if someone merely told me a book existed without the benefit of grammar, not only do I hardly noticed it in Eloise, but I love it. Kay Thompson forms a visual, intuitive grammar by placing all of her poetic sentences next to the accompanying drawing, like a careful blend between a traditional picture book and a graphic novel. Thompson’s breaking of grammatical rules parallels the literal rules her imaginative character also breaks, which, I think, forms an essential part of the charm of Eloise.

Beverage: Champagne.

Reminds me of… although Eloise is completely original, her temper tantrum scene reminds me of Don’t let the Pigeon Ride the Bus by Mo Williems.

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