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.
Story and Pictures by: Ludwig Bemelmans
Publisher: Puffin Books (1998)
Reading Level: Ages 3-8
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).
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.