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Madeline (Madeline)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  147,089 Ratings  ·  1,325 Reviews
Madeline is one of the best-loved characters in children's literature. Set in picturesque Paris, this tale of a brave little girl's trip to the hospital was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1940 and has as much appeal today as it did then. The combination of a spirited heroine, timelessly appealing art, cheerful humor, and rhythmic text makes Madeline a perennial favorite with ch ...more
Paperback, 44 pages
Published 1989 by London: Hippo (first published 1939)
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Belinda "Madeline is the smallest yet bravest of the twelve girls at the boarding school." -

It is also said she is…more
"Madeline is the smallest yet bravest of the twelve girls at the boarding school." -

It is also said she is American not French, I know you can only take so much from Wikipedia but I believe that to be true. Madeline was my favorite growing up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Trina (Between Chapters)
I read this for BookTubeAThon to fulfill the "read a book older than you" challenge. I remember having and reading this book as a kid, but now I'm kind of confused about what a kid would get out of the story. I guess it's just fun with the pictures and rhymes, but I didn't see much meaning (other than copy your friends? Wish you have an illness to be one of the cool kids?). I really have no idea how to rate this as an adult.
May 22, 2013 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture


Marianne Werefkin
"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline."

Who doesn't remember the first lines from the classic childrens book Madeline!? As a young girl I adored this book. I used to check it out of the library repeatedly, until finally my mother gave in and b
Jul 20, 2016 Selene rated it liked it
BookTube-A-Thon Challenge #1
Read a book with yellow ok the cover.

BookTube-A-Thon Challenge #5
Read a book that is older than you.
Although I absolutely adore author/illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans' expressive and detailed illustrations (that simply shine and glow with the spirit of Paris, with the spirit of both time and place), the accompanying narrative and especially the rhyme schemes are at times rather choppy and anything but smooth. And truly, for me as an adult reader (who never did read of have Madeline read to me as a child), the unevenness of the rhymes and their at times almost painful artificialness, this does ten ...more
Sarah Sammis
Jun 08, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pc
Madeline is one of those books that has been in print for so long that everyone seems to know the story even without necessarily having read it. When I was pregnant with Sean, Ian and I saw the 1998 film version of Madeline. While watching (and enjoying) the film we realized that we couldn't remember the story. Ian went out and bought a copy for Sean.

The story is told through a simple rhyme taken a few words at a time across pages. The bulk of the tale though is in the illustrations as Madeline
Mar 29, 2014 Brigid rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my childhood favorites. This may be strange. Even as a child, I had a sense there was something going on between Madeline and Pepito. I felt they had a thing going on. You know, "Romantically". What the hell is wrong with me! Is that just me? They were kids and yet I could sense something. I loved the French story and the all the girls and their quirks. It's a cute story. I used to adore the cartoon too. Yeah. Sometimes I just want to take my head off, I'm so fucked up.

Rebecca McNutt
It's been several years since I've read this classic picture book, but I found my old copy from when I was a kid yesterday, and it's still a story that holds up. Timeless, full of wonderful paintings of Paris scenery and very creative, Madeline is unforgettable.
Nov 29, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it
I'm not quite sure what to make of Madeline, or how to rate the book. I'm quite sure my mom read this to me as a child--she gave us the most beautiful children's book selections through books she acquired at garage sales or checked out from the library--but I don't really have any warm-fuzzies attached to it so I'm guessing it was not a favorite.

It's still not a favorite. I can appreciate it, to an extent, but I am just not sure I really liked it that much. Maybe my expectations were too high? T
2016 Reading Challenge: A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy

Given the fact that I've just unearthed this beauty from a box of mementos, this might just become the year of me rereading childhood favourites and I am perfectly okay with that.
Sep 09, 2007 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone young or French at heart
Shelves: french, childrens
When once asked if a book ever changed my life, I thought of "Madeline." It was in no way a profound awakening -- I was too young to even understand the lasting effects let alone remember the first time I read the book -- but it lay the seed for my fascination with all things French.

After the book came the Madeline doll (with her stitched on appendix scar) and the sequel stories and subsequent television shows. I still get nostalgic every time I see the two rows of girls in their yellow uniforms
“Madeline” is the first book created by Ludwig Bemelmans for his “Madeline” series and has won the Caldecott Honor Book Award. This book basically details Madeline’s earliest adventures from standing up bravely to a ferioucious tiger to having a bad case of appendicitis.

Ludwig Bemelmans’ writing is creative and sweet as he writes the story in a rhyming text that efficiently narrates the story. The story of how Madeline suffers from appendicitis and how Miss Clavel and the other girls cared enoug
Aug 16, 2007 Jill rated it it was amazing
I ran across this book today, and had a flood of childhood memories. I love Madeline, perhaps because she is French, Parisian, and Catholic, three things which I was not (and still am not). She also has a sense of adventure and fearlessness, which is not always common in stories about little girls. There is always a bit of a fascination with orphans too when one is a child-- not that one wishes bad to come to their parents, but the thought of a child without proper adult supervision is sort of e ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Laima rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This is a classic children's book with wonderful illustrations and rhyming verses.
I read this book many many times when I was young and to my children when they were young.
The story of French schoolgirl Madeline is timeless and includes picture references of many famous Paris landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Notre Dame.

I read this book for free on We Give Books.
A beautiful library book, enjoyed for its illustrations and most unlikely misbehaving heroine, who was always loved and never punished after her downfalls. I understood fiction at an early age! Lol.
Kathy Worrell  ツ
Read this book as part of my Diversity Challenge, I had to read a book that was turned into a tv show.

Very cute story!
To check out all my reviews:

When I was a little boy I remember vividly watching the animate cartoon called Madeline. When my grandparents had to babysit me sometimes they were busy and put on cartoons and leave the channel for me and I remember watching this on Disney Channel in the morning/early afternoon and being mesmerized by the story. Typically Madeline is for "girls" but I have gotten to a point in my life that looking back on the programs that I watch
Anastasia Riebs
Nov 30, 2013 Anastasia Riebs rated it it was amazing
Ludwig Bemelmans

It was one of the first books I remembered as a small child taking a violent proprietary stewardship of; it was the book I wouldn’t share.

I don’t know how it was that I believed wholeheartedly that the book was, in truth, my own story from when I was another girl… I remember at age three being fulent in French, distinct in my likeness to the other orphans, and brave beyond measure.

It was easy, so easy to be those things, because of the love and security I found in Miss C
I may have heard about this series/this book before, however it really came to my attention yesterday, when someone I friended on Goodreads read this one. It looked fun, and right up my alley.

And did it turn out to be that way? Yes, though it wasn't because of the so-called timelessly appealing art (What was so appealing to it?), but because of the adorable story with wonderful, sweet characters. Characters like the Miss Clavel, Madeline, but also the other girls.

Especially Madeline quickly tur
Linda Lipko
Madeline is precocious and witty, finding ways to push the boundaries of rules. she lives in Paris with eleven other young girls. A bit of a show off, Madeline exhibits she is not afraid of a tiger or walking on the top most edge of a bridge.

When she has her appendix removed, the others admire her bravery and also want to have the same operation.

A recipient of the 1940 Caldecott Honor Award, there is nothing in depth about this story, yet it has remained a classic since 1939 when it was first p
Tricia Douglas
Nov 12, 2012 Tricia Douglas rated it it was amazing
This is a classic, must-read book for children. When this was published back in 1939, Bemelmans presented us with a wonderful story of Paris and a little girl who is rushed to the hospital due to an attack of appendicitis. I understood little of what was going on at the age of 5 or 6 when I first read this book, but being in the hospital with flowers and toys and having everyone admire Madeline's scar, hooked me. Now I have most of Bemelmans books on my bookshelf and love each one. This was a se ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my Wish List for a year since before I moved to Paris for three months. It is a birthday gift from my brother and sister-in-law so it's very special. It's the 75th anniversary edition plus it has a panoramic pop-up spread of Paris!
It's a case, the book, and the stand-alone pop-up, which I'd beautifully designed. I love seeing the places I got to know during my time in Paris.
Mary Soderstrom
Aug 12, 2014 Mary Soderstrom rated it it was amazing

Madeline is the first book I ever borrowed from a library. It was brand new, the year must have been 1947 or 1948, and I saw it in a display of new books. You had to have a library card to borrow and to get a card you had to be able to sign your name, so, dyslexic me, I made my mother help me practice until I got the "Mary" down pat. The librarian let my mother sign my last name, as I remember.

Still love the book, and read the French version recently to my grand daughter Jeanne.
Jan 15, 2014 Beverly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
I have loved Madeline for many years now. The little girl who turns up her nose at tigers and appendix scars.

And unlike the previous Caldecott winning illustrators, whose artwork was more realistic, Bemelmans utilizes a more impressionistic, slapdash, freewheeling style. They are very expressive and energetic and carry the story along beautifully.

Ely (Tea & Titles)
Madeline made up such a huge part of my childhood. I think it's probably one of the main reasons I fell so much in love with Paris and France as a whole when I was a little girl. I don't think there will ever be a time where I don't love this story.
Valerie (He Said Books Or Me)
Aug 07, 2015 Valerie (He Said Books Or Me) rated it really liked it
This was the book that made me want to go to France. I loved the stories of Madeline and can remember watching the cartoons early Saturday mornings.
Dec 22, 2015 Leena rated it it was amazing
fav childhood cartoon.
Isabella Cordón
Dec 28, 2016 Isabella Cordón rated it it was amazing
Es un gran libro
Emily Holter
Mar 25, 2014 Emily Holter rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Children grow to love a little girl named Madeline when reading this unique poetic book. Madeline is a very daring, yet loveable little girl that most children can relate with. Madeline seems to be very daring and is not afraid of anything. Children would love her fearless approach on life. The story also shows Madeline’s brave side, as for she has to have her appendix removed. Children could relate to this because it shows Madeline in a big scary hospital.

The book tells the story of Madeline,
G didn't get into this one. Maybe when he's older. I like it though.
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Ludwig Bemelmans was an Austrian author, an internationally known gourmand, and a writer and illustrator of children's books. He is most noted today for his Madeline books, six of which were published from 1939-1961. A seventh was discovered after his death and published posthumously in 1999.
More about Ludwig Bemelmans...

Other Books in the Series

Madeline (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Madeline's Rescue
  • Madeline and the Bad Hat
  • Madeline in London
  • Madeline and the Gypsies
  • Madeline's Christmas
  • Madeline In America And Other Holiday Tales
  • Madeline Loves Animals
  • Madeline Says Merci: The Always-Be-Polite Book
  • Madeline and the Cats of Rome
  • Madeline at the White House

Share This Book

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline.”
More quotes…