Thursday, December 9, 2010

Module 2: Madeline

SLIS 5420.002
Module 2
August 30-September 5


Madeline attends private school in Paris. She is the smallest of the twelve little girls who go to school under the supervision of the nun Ms. Clavel. Different from the other girls, Madeline is a bit of a tomboy and daredevil. However, one night, Ms. Clavel wakes and knows right away that something isn't right with one of the girls. Madeline is rushed to the hospital for an appendicitis. Upon her recovery, the little girls travel down to the hospital to visit her and decide that having surgery is worth it if they get to have presents delivered to them, too!


Bemelmans, L.(1960). Madeline. New York: Viking Press.

My impressions:

Bemelmans captured the essence of little girls really well. I liked how he set up the characters in the book with the two rows of little girls traveling everywhere through Paris together before introducing the main character, Madeline. Madeline is the opposite of her classmates. She's the smallest, she's the most daring, and she's the least squeamish of all her classmates. Then, in the midst of the night, something happens to Madeline and throws the school out of sorts. The ending with all the little girls exclaiming that they, too, want their appendices out is the picture of childhood essence. I remember thinking how lucky classmates who had their tonsils out were because they got to eat ice cream a lot and how fun it must be to have a cast on your arm because everyone would want to sign it. I don't think most children reflect on the real reasons why their peers get special treatment when sick or injured.


From Kirkus Reviews:
Yes, it will sell:- (1) because it is Ludwig Bemelmans and a beautiful book; (2) because Bemelmans' sense of humor tickles the risibilities of adults and they buy books. Children may like the absurdities, but actually, the appeal is not juvenile. The charm of the pictures (other than the coloring itself) lies in the identification with familiar and recognizable objects. And the text is not keyed to the interests or understanding of the average child. (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1939)

Reviews. (1939, June 15). In Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines," lives plucky Madeline with eleven other girls under the care of the kind Miss Clavel. Madeline wakes up in the night with appendicitis and is rushed off to the hospital. The other girls visit Madeline after the operation, and see her gifts, her candy, and above all, her scar. That night they all cry, "Boohoo, we want to have our appendix out too!" Bemelman's drawings of Paris bring the charm of the city to young readers.

From Barnes & Noble. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Library Setting Uses:

After a reading of the book, either by an adult or children taking turns, children could make clothespin dolls to look like Madeline and her 11 other classmates. Using embroidery floss, markers, and construction paper (for the hats), this should be a good craft for “small fingers” to make the little girls all “in a row”. Or, if this craft is a little too difficult for the children, popsicle sticks can be used instead of clothespins.

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