New York: Random House, 1958. Item #02674
Signed By The Artist
Eloise Takes Christmas By Storm
THOMPSON, Kay. Eloise at Christmastime. Drawings by Hilary Knight. New York: Random House, 1958.
First printing, signed by Hilary Knight on the preliminary leaf. Quarto (10 7/8 x 7 7/8 in; 278 x 200 mm). Unpaginated (24 ff). Exuberantly illustrated throughout with many double-page spreads.
Publisher's red glazed pictorial boards. Illustrated endpapers. In first issue dust jacket coded 9-58 (Sept. 1958). Minimal wear at spine extremities otherwise a fine copy in the original (price-clipped, otherwise fine) color pictorial dust jacket. Housed in a scarlet linen slipcase.
Kay Thompson (1909-1998) is best known today as the creator of the Eloise children's books but she began her career as a composer, musician, actress, singer, and vocal coach to such stars as Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, and June Allyson.
Thompson lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York City - home to Eloise. The books were partly inspired by the antics of her goddaughter, Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli. But later, when asked if this was true Thompson replied, "I am Eloise." The four books in the series, illustrated by Hilary Knight, are Eloise (Simon & Schuster, 1955), Eloise in Paris (Simon & Schuster, 1957), Eloise at Christmastime (Random House, 1958) and Eloise in Moscow (Simon & Schuster, 1959). Each follows the adventures of the precocious six-year-old Eloise. All were bestsellers upon release and have been adapted into television projects. She also composed and performed a Top 40 hit song, "Eloise" (Cadence Records, 1956). Film buffs will recall Thompson as Maggie Prescott, the flamboyant, Diana Vreeland-like editor of the fashion magazine, Quality, in Funny Face (1957) starring Fred Astaire as a photographer ala Richard Avedon, which opens with Thompson's now famous showpiece number, "Think Pink!"