Mad About Madeline

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I still remember that breakthrough moment.

The fleeting second when Madeline become much, much more than a simple picture book character in the eyes of my twins.

I remember the very page.

It took just one page for Madeline to became a real believable person. A girl that transcended a mere child.

A true force of human nature. Yes, that's Madeline.

There is a certain magic about Madeline that is not easy to explain.

Madeline is such a cosmopolitan character.

She and her neighbor Pepito - the son of the Spanish Ambassador - will effortlessly take you on a whirlwind tour of Paris and London.

Reading a Madeline story makes you feel as if you almost belong there.

And no, do not dismiss this as "a book for girls".

Boys and girls alike will be fascinated with little Madeline (and the "bad hat" Pepito!).

She is the smallest of twelve little girls who live in a boarding school under the watchful eye of Miss Clavel.

Madeline, the littlest of them all, is also the most colorful and brave.

But, let's first rewind the clock by some nine months.

Let's go back to the first time that I read Madeline aloud to my kids.

I recall seeing the scepticism in their eyes when I brought out this big book that night (and it is a big, fantastic book for reading aloud, make no mistake!).

My twins were no longer beginner listeners, they were experienced professionals.

They no longer looked at me, seeking to read in my face any sign of whether the book was good.

My kids were now the judges, while I was in the dock.

Their four small brown eyes were firmly focused on the book in my hands.

Lips pressed firmly, no chit-chat allowed.

It was showtime, and my new book was expected to perform.

Mad About Madeline was now being scrutinized with great attention and I noticed from the very first page that things were going my way.

OK, I noticed that they loved the creative rhyming from the very start.  Oh yes, the dynamic pictures kept them focused as well.

But that was just the first four pages.

The question lingered in my mind - would they love it?

I forgot that I had a masterpiece in my hands.

Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline did not lose time.

This book had my twins eating out of my hand in just two minutes.

When we reached the following part - a page with a picture of Madeline staring a tiger in a face, in the Paris zoo - my twins had fallen for her.

She was not afraid of mice.
She loved winter, snow and ice.
To the tiger in the zoo.
Madeline just said, Pooh-pooh

My son cracked a smile.

My daughter looked at the book, looked at her brother ... and then even she couldn't repress her smile.

"That's it. I have them!" I thought to myself.

And that was it. From that moment on, they became Madeline afficionados.

No wonder.

All six Madeline books abound with vivid situations and exciting events, which stand in stark contrast to the regimented activities of Madeline's school.

Some of the stories are so rich in detail, so visually entoxicating that we have still not absorbed them fully yet, almost a year after starting to read them together.

Another plus is that with Mad About Madeline you will not have to search for "new Madeline" books" to keep your kids happy, as it contains the Madeline story and all five original sequels written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans.

The six Madeline books that are included in this treasury are:

This treasury - containing the six complete tales about Madeline - is equally entrancing for readers and listeners.

I can see my kids returning to Madeline during their entire childhood, enjoying a different aspect of the books every time.

The pictures and pages in this treasury are all preserved in the same size and format as in the original books, so there is no loss of quality.

To make matters even more interesting, Mad About Madeline contains a superb introduction to our famous heroine by Anna Quindlen.

Madeline lovers will also rejoice in a special addendum written by Ludwig Bemelman on the origin of Madeline, including old sketches and photographs of Ludwig and Barbara
Bemelman, and their daughter Madeline.

All six stories have a certain je ne sais quoi that will make you and your kids fall in love with the little heroine.

The language.

The unexpected rhymes.

Miss Clavel turned on the light and said, "
Something is not right!"
And afraid of a disaster.
Miss Clavel ran fast and faster.

Let me look it up in the dictionary... 'Je ne sais quoi' - an intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive.

It is this 'intangible quality' that will make you return again and again to these charming stories!

Oh yes, don't forget to take a sip of water and a deep breath before starting to read.

(Be ready to read and read and read.... ) this treasury has no less than 320 pages!

Oh, yes.... lest I forget.

Please do tell me - are you also mad about this little lady?

Mad About Madeline is available from bookstores in the US:


The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

and from other countries:

Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon DE

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