Madeline is a wonderful children’s tale that has stood the test of time. Originally published in 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans, this classic story is still incredibly popular today.

The story is about a unique little girl called Madeline, who shows her classmates what it is to be a strong, courageous individual.

The book is written in a beautiful rhyme making it easy for children to enjoy and learn. The illustrations are timeless and as the story is set in Paris, this is a great introduction for your child to famous landmarks such as Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.

You will fall in love with Madeline who, although mischievous, is utterly charming and brave. Through her adventures, the story touches on everyday topics such as the change of seasons, routines (brushing teeth and going to bed), hospitals and illness, and good and bad.

Tips for parents

Madeline provides a great many opportunities for discussion with your child. For example:

  • Involve your child in the reading of the story. Have your child recite with you the rhymes and end of sentences.
  • Discuss the illustrations in the book. Count the twelve little girls, twelve beds, or talk about the snow in the picture and how it must be winter, or how it is sunny in summer.
  • You can talk to your child about how the characters brush their teeth before going to bed – ‘just like the way you do’!
  • Talk to your child about the city of Paris. Discuss how there are many beautiful buildings and gardens in Paris. How Paris is in another country called France where people speak French.

Ludwig Bemelmans

Ludwig Bemelmans was an author and illustrator who immigrated to America from Austria in 1914. He started writing in 1934 and of all his books, Madeline was the most successful. Although this was his wife’s name, the book’s character was actually based on their daughter, Barbara.


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