/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans {1939}

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans {1939}

Anytime that my three year old daughter S sees a picture of the Eiffel Tower, she can quickly identify it. All because of Madeline! I loved the Madeline books as a child, and my daughter loves them too. It is sweet to be able to pass down a well-loved picture book from one generation to another.

Author. Ludwig Bemelmans immigrated from Austria to the U.S. in his late teens. He careers in hotels, restaurants, and art before veering into writing.

Plot. Set to simple rhyme, readers meet Madeline- a spunky little red head who lives in a girls school with eleven other children, all under the care of the nun, Ms. Clavel. Always in seek of a thrill, Madeline gives Ms. Clavel quite a lot of frights, none so great as when she must be rushed away to the hospital in the middle of the night for an appendectomy.

Educational Opportunities. The majority of the illustrations in any Madeline book feature iconic buildings, statues, and other works of art found in the city of the story's setting. The first Madeline book takes place in Paris, of course. Look at pictures with your child of the actual Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame {whether online or in a book}.


  • Make your own Madeline hat with a paper plate and bowl. 
  • Make a little Madeline doll out of a toilet paper tube and this printable
  • Enjoy this plethora of free, printable, Madeline coloring pages!
  • Julie of Creekside Learning shares all of the Madeline activities she and her daughter's did for their F.I.A.R. learning program. Many fabulous ideas from this homeschooling mom of three!
Other Resources. 

  • My daughter loves checking this movie out from our local library. The first episode features depictions of many famous paintings as Madeline learn to paint and explores the Louvre, the second episode is about the Eiffel Tower, and the third a unique spin on the origins of the Cannes Film Festival ;). There are many other Madeline cartoons, but I can only vouch for this one as I haven't seen any of the others. 

Be sure to also check out... Madeline's Rescue, Madeline and the Bad Hat, Madeline in London, Madeline and the Gypsies, and Madeline's Christmas, all by the same author. Later books were written by Ludwig Bemelman's grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, in the same style, including Madeline and the Cat's of Rome and Madeline in the White House.

Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

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