Perfect Picture Book: Madeline

Fats here.

Last week, Myra, Iphigene, and I had a discussion about participating in another blog meme. To add to our growing list of blog memes, we decided to take part in Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill. We thought that, since we constantly post reviews of picture books, it would be great to incorporate them into a blog meme such as this. Our first official contribution begins with a classic picture book by award-winning author-illustrator, Ludwig Bemelmans. This also in keeping with our bimonthly theme, Girl Power and Women’s Wiles, and the kidlit community’s celebration of Women’s Month.

Madeline

Story and Pictures by: Ludwig Bemelmans
Publisher: Puffin Books (1998)
Reading Level: Ages 3-8
Genre: Fiction
Themes: Girl power, courage, discipline, friendship, beauty of Paris

Opening/Synopsis: “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. In two straight lines they broke their bread and brushed their teeth and went to bed.”

Why I Like This Picture Book: What’s not to love about Paris and a feisty little girl? Madeline was part of my childhood. When it was made into a television series, it became one of the regular cartoon shows I watched on weekend mornings. Contrary to popular belief, Madeline and her friends are not orphans. They go to a Catholic boarding school under the direct supervision of Miss Clavel.

While I enjoy reading rhyming verses, it is the artworks of Ludwig Bemelmans that are most captivating. The watercolor paintings are vibrant and playful; yellow and black are predominant in the book. In addition, it’s a treat to see famous landmarks in the beautiful city of Paris. It is reminiscent of the books by Japanese children’s author-illustrator, Mitsumasa Anno (whose works were featured last year by Myra in this 3-in-1 Gathering Books special).

Taken from the Madeline app. Pages appear as in the actual book. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

The story of Madeline is the story of every little girl, or at least I hope it is. Madeline may be considered the naughtiest of the twelve little girls of Miss Clavel, but she is more than that. Spunky and fearless, Madeline is a child of wonder. She treats each day – each experience, no matter how trivial – as an adventure. Fascinated by the world, she likes to discover things. She is every little girl’s role model, and constantly reminds us that there is more to see in this world, and each day is an opportunity. The sky is her limit, and the world is her playground.

Resources for Teachers and Students:

Check out this exhaustive teacher’s notes and activity guide prepared by Film Education.

LessonPlanet provides a “rhyming lesson plan” in relation to the book.  Unfortunately, you need to sign up and pay the membership fee to access the resource. Teachers can adopt this teaching guide by typing the entire story of Madeline (in verses), create a simple word search puzzle, and let students find the words that rhyme in the story.

The back of the book provides a list famous landmarks in Paris. Teachers can use this for art projects. Have students draw/paint the said landmarks, and let them draw their favorite place/s in their own cities.

Being the classic picture book that it is, preschool teachers can use this book for storytime.

To learn more about Madeline, you may visit her official website.


1940 Caldecott Honor Book
AWB Reading Challenge Update: 25 of 35

Caldecott Challenge Update: 7 of 24

Picture Book Challenge Update: 39 of 120

22 Comments on Perfect Picture Book: Madeline

  1. I used to know these words by heart because I read the book so many times to my daughter. What a lovely choice for picture book Friday and for strong women. Thanks, Fats.

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    • Hi Linda!! Thank you! Madeline is a female icon, and I love how her personality shines to this day. I had access to the cartoon series first before I read the books. I did have my share of knowing the intro song by heart, as well as the opening lines of the book. It’s raining on my part of the globe as we speak. So nice to read it over a cup of hot chocolate. 🙂

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  2. My oldest son went through a phase when we read this book every day, multiple times a day. It’s a sweet story that holds up under strenuous repetition. I love Madeline’s personality and spunk. Thanks for adding it to the Perfect Picture Book Friday list!

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    • Hello Heather! One aspect I like about Madeline is that, while it is an easy read, you just never get tired of it. She’s adorable, and definitely full of surprises. Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

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  3. So lovely to connect with you! Susanna’s PPBF is an awesome site…I would have been thrilled to have it available to me when I was a kindergarten teacher and mother of little ones. 🙂
    I love “Madeline”…as does the rest of the world, I think. It has certainly stood the test of time. 🙂 Great resources also…thank you for those.
    The illustrations are amazing…as with so many of the classic picture books (and newer ones as well), the illustrators (and sometimes author/illustrators) are accomplished artists in their own right. Such a wonderful way to introduce art to young children!

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    • Hi Vivian! Thanks for visiting. I love how you said that “Madeline” has stood the test of time. I agree with what you said about illustrators being accomplished artists in their own right. I read in Madeline’s official website that Ludwig Bemelmans considers himself more as an artist than an author, and it is clearly reflected in his Madeline books. The illustrations are simply beautiful. 🙂

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  4. We always loved, loved, loved Madeline! Yay you for adding it to the PPBF library.

    The resources you added are great! (I am terrible at that at times) But your review is nicely done. *waving*

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    • Yay Robin!! 🙂 I was actually expecting more resources available online but my “search engine powers” seemed to wane a bit while drafting this review. But I’m really glad you liked it! 🙂

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  5. I love Madeline!

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  6. I adore this book, Myra…. love the story, the rhyme, the Parisian setting… it’s gold! So glad to see you on PPPF!

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  7. Hi Myra, love your choice of picture book. I have read this book before…. and remember vividly the beautiful pictures….. oh how I would love to visit Paris again. This is an excellent choice and I love the rhyming, welcome to PPBF. Look forward to seeing what other treasures you find.

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    • Hello there, Ms PatientDreamer!! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. I would love to visit Paris. Will definitely watch out for the landmarks that Ludwig Bemelmans included in the book when I make that trip. 🙂

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  8. Myra, this is a great choice for you first PPBF! Madeline is a classic book series that my students are still drawn to generations after its first publication. You are so right-what’s not to love about Paris and a feisty little girl! 🙂

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  9. Hi Myra! Sorry to be the last to the party here! Welcome to PPBFs!!! I’m so glad you’ve joined us. Madeline is one of my favorite books of all time – I loved it as a child and loved reading it to my children. It is such a wonderful classic and I am so glad to have it added to our list along with these wonderful resources. Thank you 🙂

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  10. Love this book. Had it memorized as my daughterwanted it read to her so frequently.Glad you joined PPB. She is so fiesty and fits in in beautifully with your theme this month. Great review and layout.

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  11. It’s been a while since I read Madeline. I’m glad you joined PPBF. I’m very tardy in reading the reviews from last Friday. Of course, that’s the beauty of the Internet. It’s here 24/7 for me to catch up.

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  12. You have encouraged me to reread the Madeline books! Off to the library!

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  13. Love this post and it’s wealth of info! Madeline is an amazing book and oddly enough one of my hubby’s favorites from his childhood. So, not technically who the book is aimed at, but it got him reading and that’s what matters, right? 😉

    Fantastic post and congrats! You were one of the winners from the Picture Book Challenge! Email me with your addy info so I can send the book your way! 🙂

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    • Fats Suela // April 14, 2012 at 5:16 am // Reply

      Hi Danielle! Thanks for hosting. We love love love your Picture Book Reading Challenge. Myra will get in touch with you because I haven’t been on lately. Again, thanks so much in advance. 🙂

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  14. Thanks for reminding me how much I love this book! We have it…somewhere. Am going to have to find it and suggest it to my daughter for one of our before-bed read-alouds this evening.

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  15. MADELINE is one of three books I remember SO distinctly from my childhood and I truly treasure it. It’s as an adult that I can appreciate how brilliant it is.

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3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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