Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Eloise Has a Lesson

Eloise Has a Lesson

Hilary Knight , Margaret McNamara
Illustrator:  Kathryn Mitter 
Fiction  Series
For ages 4 to 6
Simon and Schuster, 2004   ISBN: 978-0689873676

Eloise is a little girl who lives in a city, on the "tippy-top floor" of a hotel. Instead of going to school Eloise has a tutor come to her apartment to teach her. From the moment that her tutor, Philip, arrives, Eloise does her best to make poor man’s job as difficult as possible for him and as entertaining as possible for her. Eloise makes things so hard for Philip in fact that he ends up calling on Nanny for her help. Unfortunately Nanny is not terribly sympathetic simply noting that "Math time is nearly over."

Perhaps the best part of this funny early reader is when we get to the end we discover that find out that Eloise not only knows the answer to the math problem put to her by her long-suffering tutor, but she also declares that she loves math. The whole exercise in frustrating Philip was not because she did not know the answer but simply because she enjoys making Philip cross and teasing him. It should not surprise us really when we consider that Eloise tells us right at the beginning of the story with great candour and honesty that she likes "teasing Philip."

This early reader is sure to gratify all those children who have a little of the Eloise spirit in them and who will appreciate how delightful it is to frustrate grown-ups and how perfect it feels to have the upper hand.