My partner for the week, Amanda, I chose to review Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelman. Two reviews that stood out to me from the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database  were Joan Kindig’s and Donna’s from, because each reviewer experienced the tale differently.

Joan Kindig, Puffin Books (2007)

Joan Kindig, who has a PhD,  used a read-aloud CD that narrates the story to the listeners. It was republished in 2007 but the story is initially published in 1939. She said that while read-alouds are useful that this one relied on songs from “Fr re Jacques and other less known tunes” (Puffin Books, 2007). A lack of knowledge about French music that differentiate audiences, especially if used in classrooms, from connecting with the story. The infrequency of the read-aloud CD’s is problematic since not all of them feature French and English versions which may make it harder for teachers to “use the songs but are not French speakers themselves” (Puffin Books, 2007). The story is not truly improved on with the use of the read-aloud CD so it is up to the teachers and parental figures interested in teaching their children a different language if there is any potential use out of it beyond just reading the book. The review focuses on the lack of charm from language barriers more than on anything from the narrative, and on those grounds it would be wise to find better sources expect for those who are fans of Madeline in all its incarnations, it is recommended for children ages 5 to 8.

Puffin Storytime/Penguin, $9.99. Puffin Books (New York:), Published: [2007] c1939.

Donna, (1998)

Donna had a great experience from the book itself. She describes how “The book is written in rhyme and has lovely illustrations of famous sites in Paris” (Viking Penguin Inc., 1998). The book is the first of six featuring the character and since the book deals with appendicitis, shows a more realistic narrative than most children’s literature. While the book shows Madeline to be the bravest of the 12 girls under Miss Claval’s care, the idea of her being “diagnosed with an attack of appendicitis” (Viking Penguin Inc., 1998) counters the usual motif of shenanigans without incident found in most children’s books. From this review, it is clear why Madeline would be a good choice of literature for children especially between the ages of 3 to 9 according to the review.

Viking Penguin Inc. (New York, NY), Published: 1998.

The main idea I understand from these reviews is that this book is set in France, focuses on the adventures of a 12 year-old girl, and is entertaining for young children while teaching them about a different part of the world. I can highly recommend it.


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