Feb 25, 2012


Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans

     Madeline was awarded the Caldecott Honor in 1940.  I start by saying this because it's one of the few picture books published during the 1930s to have receive that honor and still feel like a current book and have as much appeal now as it did back then.
     Madeline is the story of a brave and spunky girl who attends a Catholic boarding school for girls in Paris.  She was the smallest of her class of twelve but she was the most spirited of them all.  A bit of a trouble maker, she always knew how to frighten Miss Clavel with her antics.  When one night Madeline wakes up screaming in pain, she is rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy.  When her classmates came to visit her at the hospital, Madeline proudly shows her new scar.  Back at school, Miss Clavel must send to bed the rest of the girls who are all now wishing to have their own appendixes removed.  "And she turned out the light- and closed the door- and that's all there is- there isn't any more.
     If you have only known Madeline through her more modern portraits and editions, do yourself a favor and grab this 1939 one.  The yellow and black illustrations are wonderful and the flow and rhythm of the text are delightful.  Love Madeline!


  1. this book is one of my all time favorites! The rhythm of the language and the loveliness of the portraits are just the best!


    1. Totally agree! I hope to be raising a Madeline...so far, my young one seems to match Madeline's spirit :)