Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Madlenka” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview



3.98  ·  Rating details ·  893 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A trip around a city block is like a trip around the world!

Peeking out through a die-cut window on the jacket, Madlenka invites the reader to enter her world. And what a world it is! On the surface, it looks like an ordinary city block, but as we meet Madlenka's neighbors -- the French baker, the Indian news vendor, the Italian ice-cream man, the Latin American grocer, a r
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 4th 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Madlenka, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Madlenka

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  893 ratings  ·  115 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Madlenka
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: children interested in world geography, children who like picture search books and culture
When Madlenka, who lives in a vibrant and culturally diverse New York City neighbourhood has a loose tooth, she decides to visit her many friends and tell them of this momentous news. Her visiting makes her late, and when her worried parents ask their daughter where she he has been, Madlenka replies that she has been on a trip around the world (and that she has finally lost her tooth).

I very much love and appreciate the premise of this sparsely narrated, lushly illustrated picture book. While th
Lisa Vegan
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: girls who are losing baby teeth & enjoy learning about different locations around the world
I saw this book and Madlenka's Dog on the library’s shelf and borrowed them both. I started off with a “Huh?” and ended up being charmed. However, a few of the inclusions for various places perplexed me.

Madlenka lives in New York City, and when she finds a loose tooth she goes off to tell everybody in the neighborhood, a diverse neighborhood. Depending on whom she’s relating with, depending on where they’re originally from, they call her variations of her name.

There is a map at the back and th
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ronyell by: Manybooks
“Madlenka” is a children’s book by Peter Sis, illustrator of Rabbit Ears’ “Rumpelstiltskin,” and was a selection for the Goodreads Children’s book Picture Book Club and it details how a young girl named Madlenka goes around the city telling everyone that her tooth is loose while learning about other cultures from her neighbors. “Madlenka” is a truly cute story about exploring different cultures one neighborhood at a time!

When I first started reading this little unique gem of a book, I was totall
Crystal Marcos
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I read Madlenka with my 2 year old. Three times at her request. Part of the thrill of the book had a little something to do with the way we would call out Madlenka's name when we were looking for her on every page.

The story is about a little girl whose tooth is loose. She goes around her New York neighborhood sharing this information with neighbors from around the world. I liked how each person cheerfully greeted Madlenka and said something in their native language.

We enjoyed the cutouts. Howeve
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
The story is about a little girl whose tooth is loose. Although it sounded like an original story, it was quite boring to read next to that the drawings were dark. Not much conversation going on then every time the same.

This book is in the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up challenge I am doing.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories Set in New York City
Young Madlenka sets out to share the good news - she has a loose tooth! - in this engaging picture-book from the talented Peter Sis, visiting all of her many neighbors in the diverse New York City neighborhood she calls home. From Mr. Gaston, the French baker, to Mr. Singh, the Indian newspaper seller, from Mr. Eduardo, the greengrocer, to Mrs. Kham the shopkeeper, Madlenka moves from friend to friend, and from culture to culture, receiving congratulations and good wishes from all, and becoming ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really loved the illustrations in this one!
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Madlenka by Peter Sis follows a small girl as she visits shop owners on her block to tell them about her loose tooth. This trip around the world on her own square block is a multicultural look at the world from New York City.

The sparse text is supplemented with writing on each side of some pictures, making the reader turn the book around to read it, thus changing their perspective. There are lists, with pictures, of what is in a shop, or what is in a country. Each person says hello or greetings
Skylar Burris
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
This books takes a visually exciting look at the multiculturalism of an American city. It introduces children to a variety of cultures quickly, a few foreign words, and, in the end, offers a world map that pinpoints the origins of all of the people Madlenka tells about her loose tooth. (However, it oddly distinguishes some people by country and others by continent. Is this because children are expected to be able to distinguish the German from the Frenchman but not the Korean from the Chinaman o ...more
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting story about a micro-cosm of world cultures in a NY neighborhood. Madlenka, Madeline, Maddalena, etc. as she is called by her neighbors has a loose tooth and wants to share the news with everyone.

The interesting cultures, foods, and languages that are incorporated into this story (along with the fun writing that is written around the edges of several of the pages) is a creative way to expose children to the diversity and differences among people from different nations and
Mar 21, 2010 rated it liked it
First, the other reviewer (on Amazon) is correct when stating that there's something wrong about carefully distinguishing between Italy, Germany, and France... but then having one person from "Latin America" and another from "Asia". These are continents, not countries - continents with diverse ethnic groups and cultures, and, of course, many different nations.

I also found the format of the book, while visually interesting, to be difficult and frustrating to read. It's hard to manage as a read-al
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
There was a time in my life when I just did not get Peter Sis at all. I would stare at his illustrations and his text and not understand what the hoopla was.

Well, today I spent a great deal of time dissecting an image out of this book, and I reached an epiphany, where I finally saw what Sis was doing with the book, how the border is a microcosm for the whole, and how each portion of the image represents what he wants the book to mean, down to the color and thickness of the outlines, and it blew
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Madlenka loses her tooth and tells all of her friends in the melting pot of NYC about it. One gets a feel for the many cultures that in some way exist in her neighborhood. A globe at the end of the book showed where everyone had been born.
Cynthia Egbert
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
It was great for a child to have such a diverse group of friends on one city block that she felt she had to tell about her loose tooth. I wish that we all lived in the midst of such diversity.
João Fernandes
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My girlfriend read this to me. It's a book that you won't want to loose.
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Preschool, 1st or 2nd Graders
Shelves: juvenilia
Sis, Peter, Madlenka, Farrar Straus Giroux, unnumbered pages. Picture book.

Description: Madlenka finds that her tooth is loose and can't wait to tell the whole neighborhood. Living in a city, Madlenka's neighbors are from all over the world. Each of the neighbor's originating country is briefly described as Madlenka travels around the block.

Review: While Madlenka's story is relatively simple, the book's pages are packed with a great deal of visual detail. The neighborhood is shown from a sort o
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like Peter Sis as an author, and this book did not disappoint!

This was the story of Madlenka, a girl who lives in a big diverse city. When she has a loose tooth, she wanders around her neighborhood, giving us an introduction to all of her ethnic neighbors! We learn how they say hello, the kinds of foods that come from their country, and so on.

It was a really cute and fun story, and the kids loved hearing all of the different information about the countries. I would definitely read this again!
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
I liked this book a lot more this time than I liked it last time. Peter Sis has a habit of wrapping his text around the pages and using cutouts and random lists and object names. The first time I read this book I thought it was a bit gimmicky, but, on my second read through I liked it a lot more.

It's a book that demonstrates the diversity in NYC and talks a bit about some of the people who make up one city block.

It's a cute book, perhaps a little hard to read simply because of the font choice
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved the playful way the text wrapped around the page and how certain cut-our pages allowed for a shift in perspective! As far as the story, I love the multicultural aspect of the title character, Madlenka, telling her neighbors all about her loose tooth! It was sweet how they greeted her in their home language, and how her name changed ever so slightly...I will definitely find a way to incorporate this book into my children's lit course.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Just wonderful! A little girl explores her neighborhood (New York City) and shares her big news will all her friends (who come from all over the world). Lush art and fascinating design make the physical book itself part of the exploration. Excellent invitation for children to explore other cultures (albeit somewhat superficially) through the people they meet.
I'm thrilled to find that there are several "Madlenka" spin-offs. I hope they're as fantastic as this first one.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
weirdest book we've ever read
text is written sideways and even upside down
pictures are borderline creepy
my kids didn't even want to finish it and that never happens
names and greetings in other languages make it hard to read aloud
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great story for kids who are the right age to be losing teeth. With Peter Sis's amazing illustrations.
Christina Packard
The story is so so, but I liked that it was done with an original idea how to display the written words.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The cover art and short synopsis in no way prepared me for the astounding quality of the work found in this book. Madlenka is a little girl living in the heart of New York City, and one of her teeth is coming loose. She's so excited about this sign of her growing to be a big girl that she rushes out to inform all the various shopkeepers around her block of the exciting news. These shopkeepers are from all corners of the world, from the French pâtissier, to the Italian ice-cream truck man, to the ...more
Allie R
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Madlenka is a little girl who lives in New York City. When she finds out her tooth is wiggly, she gets very excited and has to tell her neighbors! She runs around her block sharing the news with Mr. Gaston, the French baker, Mr. Singh, from India who sells newspapers, the local librarian from Germany and many others! When Madlenka returns home, she feels as though she has made a trip around the world and she even loses her tooth!
Peter Sis, originally from the Czech Republic, celebrates a diver
Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit)
Madlenka is the story of a little girl who lives in New York City. When she realizes she has a wiggly tooth, she just has to tell everyone on her block! So she sets off to tell her diverse neighbors all about it!

This picture book has a very interesting illustration and formatting style. We see birds' eye views of NYC and her neighborhood block with text and illustrations that wrap around them so that you have to slowly spin the book to read it. The map changes as Madlenka progresses through the
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-grade, evelyn
I love so much about this book! 1. the pictures are wonderful. Detailed, yet somewhat whimsical in their reality. The perspective is really fun and interesting. 2. My 7 yr old daughter has been learning about continents and loved that many were mentioned and she knew them. 3. I loved that they showed different languages (even her name translated), which was fun to talk about. 4. The 2 page spreads about each person's homeland which showed many cultural icons were amazing. 5. The simplicity of lo ...more
Brittany Hart
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
“Madlenka” is a dive into a new world! We are put to see things through Madlenka’s eyes as she goes to tell everyone she was a loose tooth. Every time she tells someone new, we learn about them and where they are from.
This is a cute and fun book! I loved getting to learn new things through Madlenka and children in the classroom would do! This would be incredible useful in class if you are mentioning different areas in the world.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This book has illustrations that have a square design. Occasionally, the little girl Madlenka, gets pulled into another culture, land, and her picture is seen in the square with a circle showing another page. Lovely. It requires reading in all kinds of angles, seeing all kinds of visual information, and understanding all kinds of kind people from all over the world.
Jo Oehrlein
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, nyc
Madlenka has a loose tooth and she goes around her very diverse block in NYC to announce it to different neighbors she knows.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Handa's Surprise: Read and Share
  • Harry the Dirty Dog
  • Ox-Cart Man
  • Peace At Last
  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
  • Miffy
  • In the Night Kitchen
  • This Is Not My Hat
  • Where's Spot?
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • The Baby's Catalogue
  • Lost and Found (The Boy, #2)
  • Freight Train
  • Rosie's Walk
  • Last Stop on Market Street
  • Rescuing Rialto: A Baby Sea Otter's Story
  • Crocodile Beat
  • The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with Money
See similar books…
PETER SÍS is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, filmmaker, painter and author. Born in 1949 in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and grew up in Prague. He studied painting and filmmaking at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London. His animated work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. He came to America in 1982, and now lives in New York’s Hud ...more

Other books in the series

Madlenka (4 books)
  • Madlenka's Dog
  • Madlenka Soccer Star
  • Madlenka's Music

Related Articles

His Favorite Illustrated Books: Take flight into the richly drawn worlds of these recs from the artist behind a new adaptation of The Conference of...
11 likes · 3 comments