Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline. New York: Viking Press.
Do you have a feisty little girl in your life? Then you both might like reading this book. I had two little girls and we loved to read about Madeline. She was the smallest and the bravest of twelve little girls living in a large house in Paris. She caused her teacher, Miss Clavel some distress from time to time. Here’s how Madeline is described.
She was not afraid of mice—
she loved winter, snow, and ice.
To the tiger in the zoo
Madeline just said, “Pooh-pooh,”
and nobody knew so well
how to frighten Miss Clavel.
Miss Clavel, who must have radar ears, wakes in the middle of the night and knows that something is not right. Madeline is ill and is rushed to the hospital with appendicitis. Spoiler Alert! Madeline gets well. Her friends come to visit poor Madeline. She is not so sad as they imagined as they looked at all the gifts she’d been given and here’s what was the most impressive:
But the biggest surprise by far—
on her stomach
was a scar!
Imagine what happens that night in the house covered in vines! Miss Clavel awakes again to something not quite right. Can you imagine a room full of little girls who want to be in the hospital just like Madeline? What a ruckus! Poor Miss Clavel!
This book is a delightful rhyming book. It is fun to ready by yourself, with a friend, or to someone else. Pick up a copy and enjoy it with someone.
Here’s another reason to spend some time with this book. Did you ever want to visit Paris? Here’s your opportunity. Ludwig Bemelmans illustrates many of the sites of Paris for us. Here are the sites in this book: the Eiffel Tower, the Place de Concorde, the Paris Opera House, the Place Vendome, the Hotel Des Invalides, Notre Dame, the Gardens at the Luxembourg, the Church of Sacre Coeur, and the Tuileries Gardens facing the Louvre. You can take a nice side trip by examining the illustrations in this book.
He was born in the Italian Tyrol in 1898. He moved to the United States in 1914. He worked in restaurants and eventually opened his own. He didn’t begin his career in literature until 1934. He was a humorist, satirist and painter¹.
Surprisingly, he wrote only five Madeline books, but they were very popular. Madeline was a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1940.
You can listen to this interview with his grandson insights into his life: https://www.npr.org/player/embed/230949629/231950307#. Here’s the transcript for that interview: At 75 She’s Doing Fine; Kids Still Love Their ‘Madeline’: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/11/230949629/at-75-shes-doing-fine-kids-still-love-their-madeline
Other places to learn more about this author.