Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Madeline at the White House

Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano
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's review
Jan 30, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: childrens, fiction, picture-books, reviewed
Recommended for: Madeline fans who don’t have overly high expectations for this book
Read on March 04, 2011

Well, I have to first say that I’m a Madeline fool. I loved the original book and a couple others from the time I was three or four. My father had to read them over & over & over & over at my bedtime. I loved the rhyming and the girls and especially Madeline. As an adult I added Mad About Madeline to my book collection, and gave it and other Madeline books as a gift, so I couldn’t resist reading this book.

The negative: The rhyming doesn’t always quite work, although most of the story has the reminiscent sing song quality. Except for the brief visit, I never stopped feeling sorry for the First Daughter. Madeline and the girls in line just weren’t quite as fun in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. as I find them to be in France. The American history and White House traditions and the appearance of Arlington Cemetery on the inside covers screamed Educate!!!

The positive: It was fun. I had fun reading a new book about Madeline and her lined up peers. There were times I found myself smiling big smiles. It’s a sweet story. Although, I did feel for the first daughter being an only child and being so sequestered.

The interesting: This was written by the original author’s grandson and in his background note at the end of the book, I learned a bit about the original author, and I loved that it was his idea to do a Madeline at the White House, and it was going to be written by Jacqueline Kennedy and be about Madeline’s visit to first daughter Caroline. Oh, I’d have eaten that up when I was a kid!

My expectations were not overly high and I felt only a smidgen of disappointment. I enjoyed this book and, even though I have mixed feelings about books such as this, I’m glad it was written.

The illustrations were uneven. Some were fabulous and some had an entirely different style of which I was not a fan. Overall, they more than did their job and showed off the story well.

3 ½ stars
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by CLM (new)

CLM I'm with you; I love these books and am somewhat offended by the concept of this book. On the other hand, my little nephews are about to move to DC for several years so maybe this is the perfect introduction.

Lisa Vegan Maybe. Hmm. A great one for D.C. is You Can't Take a Balloon into the National Gallery!

message 3: by Ronyell (new) - added it

Ronyell Awesome review Lisa! Since I'm a huge fan of Madeline myself, I might check this book out, but I don't really know if I should since it's not written by the original author.

Lisa Vegan Ronyell, Thanks. You'd definitely notice differences. It's hard to know whether or not to recommend it to you. You could find it disappointing and a pale version of the original books or you could get delight from it, as I did. It might be worth trying. If you decide to read it, I'll be eager to get your reactions.

message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann I loved what you said: "even though I have mixed feelings about books such as this, I’m glad it was written." I feel that can apply to so many books.

Lisa Vegan Ann wrote: "I feel that can apply to so many books."

Me too.

message 7: by Ronyell (new) - added it

Ronyell I actually might check this book out, so I'll let you know what I thought of it!

Lisa Vegan Ronyell wrote: "I actually might check this book out, so I'll let you know what I thought of it!"

Thanks, Ronyell! I am curious as to what you'll think. If you don't like it at least it's a picture book and won't take up hours of your time. But, hopefully you will enjoy it.

message 9: by Lisa (last edited Mar 08, 2011 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa Vegan Abigail wrote: "An excellent review, Lisa! You do a good job pointing out both the positives and negatives of this one. Will you be shocked to learn that I've never read any of the originals?
*ducks head* :)"


No need to duck.

My reading gaps are so huge, something I realized only when I got to know you and other Goodreads members. I LOVE the Madeline books. Definitely read those before this one, if you're going to read them at all. I can't remember if Mad About Madeline contains every single book but, even if it does, there's something very charming about the individual books. Their size and shape and they way they feel in your hands, and also definitely easier on your commutes. I'd at least try Madeline. The last time I read them was nearly 20 years ago and I was reading them to kids, but I still liked them then. They were favorites of mine when I was a preschooler and even in early elementary school. Of course, I didn't have access to the same large number of books available today.

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