For Wednesday's theme, books from our past, I chose to read Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Madeline was one of my very favorites growing up! This enchanting book tells the story of Madeline, the smallest girl in a house in Paris of twelve little girls under the ever-watchful eye of Miss Clavel. Madeline loves nothing more than to frighten poor Miss Clavel, who's illustrated character always makes me laugh because of how she runs across the page:
Madeline is fearless, and is both missed terribly and greatly envied by the eleven other girls when she gets her appendix out. Madeline is beloved by all who read her stories, and her character is a huge reason these books are so wildly popular (so much so that they have been adapted into film and television series!).
I thought it extremely appropriate to choose this book in light of our class' recent discussion of poetry. Madeline is written in a very distinct way - there are few words on each page, and it follows a certain rhythm. It also rhymes: "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines/ lived twelve little girls in two straight lines." Those are two elements that make it so incredibly appealing to children. The images on the pages tell the story better than words, and the words are enticing and easy to memorize. When this book was read out loud in another class I have, almost everyone could recite it along with the reader.
Good news! Madeline has a website: www.madeline.com. Books about her and her many adventures are still being written, by the original author's grandson.