Karin thanks the Plaza’s favorite artist

hilary knight

Today, I celebrated my 30th birthday with my parents. While I don’t actually turn 30 until August 9th which is soooooo long from now, I’ll be in Nepal for the big day so we decided to ring in my third decade a little early. There are many things I absolutely adore about my parents, but the fact that they are great birthday present givers is right up there. They have always made me feel like a queen for a day and today was no exception. My mom even gave me a sparkly purple headband with a burst of feathers coming out of the top to wear as a princess crown. 30 is the new 6 after all.

Along with some much needed financial support for my upcoming trip, my parents wrapped up new copies of my two favorite books from childhood – Eloise and Eloise in Paris. If you are female or have female children or have been to the Plaza, you probably know who Eloise is. She’s that ever so entertaining little rascal created by Kay Thompson, a woman I absolutely idolize (Think Pink!). But what would a story like Eloise be without illustrations? That’s where Hilary Knight comes in. A scion of illustrators, Knight is now 84, lives in New York, and is still illustrating. My dad had the pleasure of meeting him at a book festival and nabbed his autograph in one of my Eloise books for me. It’s kind of on par with having Elvis’ autograph for me.

Another thing that my parents unearthed for my birthday was a very early Karin Tanabe attempt at writing and illustration, a captivating story I wrote when I was about seven called Sally Tall. Sally looks like a transvestite with no nose and I repeatedly spell the word “once,” with a U in it, but it was a wonderful gift to receive at a time when childhood seems like a zillion years ago. And then I read Eloise and am guaranteed by my parents that I’ll always be their baby, and it’s all okay. 30 might not be the end of the world after all.

Clearly I was not an art protege, for Sally Tall has no mouth or arms, but I guarantee it's a very compelling story.

Clearly I was not an art protege, for Sally Tall has no mouth or arms, but I guarantee it's a very compelling story.

Mr. Hilary Knight surrounded by his masterpieces, including my favorite, the wonderful Eloise.

Mr. Hilary Knight surrounded by his masterpieces, including my favorite, the wonderful Eloise.

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2 Responses to “Karin thanks the Plaza’s favorite artist”

  1. susan orlins says:

    What great parents! For your fortieth may I recommend Eloise at Christmastime. Eloise in Moscow (which I bought for 10 cents at a library sale, signed by HK, and falling apart) is on my top ten things to take if my house is burning down. It’s all about the Commies and men with spyglasses hiding behind lampposts!

  2. Georgia says:

    My favorite books were Eloise, also! I was even her for Halloween one year! I’ll have to find a picture of that…

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