Madeline’s Rescue – Book Recommendation

Spread the love

Around the world in 50 weeks transports us to Paris in the fifties.

Madeline’s Rescue

Written and Illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans

Originally Published by Viking Press, 1953

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Orphans, Paris, Trustees, dogs

Awards: Winner of 1954 Caldecott Medal



In an Old house in Paris that was covered in vines                                                                       lived twelve little girls in two straight lines                                                                                 They left the house at half past nine                                                                                         in two straight lines in rain or shine.                                                                                               The smallest one was Madeline.                                                                                                   She was not afraid of mice.                                                                                                            She loved winter, snow, and ice.                                                                                             To the tiger in the zoo                                                                                                               Madeline just said, “Pooh Pooh!”

Fourteen years after the original Madeline, Bemelmans came up with this award winning sequel! Set in the same Parisian orphanage, with the same twelve young girls, the youngest of whom is the playful Madeline, our story unfolds. No one knew as well as Madeline how to frighten the House Mother, Miss Clavel. That is until the day Madeline, balancing on a bridge wall falls into the Seine below, and all fear her immediate demise. But, this is a children’s story after all, and rescue is at hand in the form of a quick thinking mutt, who jumps into the river and saves the foolish little girl! Naturally, Genevieve, as the orphans name her, becomes the orphanage mascot and does all that the girls do! That is until the annual Trustee inspection visit day, when the narrow-minded trustees ban Genevieve from the orphanage chasing her out into the night!

Miss Clavel and Madeline lead the rescue party, that in vain searches high and low the Parisian streets for Genevieve. They return to the orphanage empty handed and soberly settle down for the night, only to be awakened by barking.

“An old street lamp shed its light                                                                                                      on Miss Genevieve outside.”

The ending is heartwarming, but I will leave you to read that yourselves.

Why I like this book:

I adore the scenes of Paris: The Sacré Coeur, Le marche des Halles, The Seine, Notre Dame, the cobbled streets etc etc… beautiful, archaic, evocative Parisian scenes. The story is funny and sad and sweet and real, and we all love both Madeline at Miss Genevieve, not to mention Miss Clavel! 60 years later the rhyme is still splendid and the story still a winner for kids.

My favorite lines are when the feisty Madeline springs onto a chair after Genevieve’s banishment and declares:

“Miss Genevieve, noblest dog in France,                                                                                 you shall have your VEN-GE-ANCE!” 

This timeless classic is part of Gathering Book’s 2012 Award Winning Books Reading Challenge. 

NB, this blog post is in blue today to support International Autism Awareness Day!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Madeline’s Rescue – Book Recommendation

  1. Erik This Kid Reivews Books says:

    I love the Madeline books! I think I have read this one, but I’m not so sure. I know I read “Madeline and The Gypsies” I’ll have to check this one out! 😉

  2. Love Madeline, but never read this one. Love it! Great for the reading challenge. I’m having trouble finding a foreign translated book. You’re lucky!

    Glad you’re joining Light it Up Blue today for International Autism Awareness Day!. Erik did too.

  3. Joanna says:

    Hi Pat, I think I like all the Madeline books. This isn’t for the Paper Tigers Challenge as the book was written in English. This is part of the Gathering Books 2012 Award Winning Books challenge.

  4. Oh Joanna, I so love this post, as it is reminiscent of the Madeline review that Fats just wrote for PPBF! What a lovely sequel. I have a few Madeline books here in my shelf, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. Maybe tomorrow, when we have the time. We’re just reading sooo many books (my daughter and I) that sometimes we can’t keep track any longer. 🙂

  5. We love the Madeline books on this farm. That old house was filled with so much laughter. Even bad hat. Ha! My kids learned a lot about Paris while reading these delightful books! Great review.

  6. Cortney says:

    I loved the Madeleine books when I was little!

  7. Joanna says:

    I still do. 🙂

  8. I had one Madeleine book when I was little, and read it over and over.

    Thanks for sharing this one today!

    (And how I wish I could change the color of my blog type! I have an interview coming up that wants color, and I can’t achieve it.)

  9. I just pulled out all of our Madeline books this morning. Bemelmans birthday is April 27th! I love revisiting his books every year! My daughter’s favorite is Madeline and the Bad Hat — she really likes Pepito.

    Great review!

  10. I love Madeline books, but haven’t checked out a book lately. It’s interesting the author did the seqeul 14 years later. Is it me or does it seem like a sequel is planned now before the first book is release? I guess today it’s all about creating a franchise.

    • Joanna says:

      Interesting point, Stacy. I am pretty sure that when Emma Walton Hamilton submitted her first Very Fairy Princess book, the deal was for two and then ‘we’ll see’!

  11. Leslie Rose says:

    The Madeline books were always “snuggle” stories for my daughter and I. Love them.

  12. Cathy Mealey says:

    Hurray for Madeleine! Always loved these books as a child. Sadly my DD did not like the idea of little girls in an orphanage (or a boarding school??) nor the idea of a stomach scar (“the greatest surprise by far!”). Such great rhyme!

    Thanks for the blue ink!

    • Joanna says:

      Cathy, someone mentioned on FB yesterday that her daughter had been upset by the orphanage. Kids can be sensitive about things I wouldn’t instinctively pick up on.

  13. I am embarrassed to say that I have not yet read a Madeline book, but this review makes me want to. Lucky that library branch is five blocks from my house.

    Meanwhile, I tagged you in today’s post with the Lucky 7 Meme, Joanna. The rules are posted there, too.

  14. Just picked this book up from the library. Thanks for the review and the reminder. These are one of the very few books that my toddler daughter will sit still for!

  15. Joanna says:

    Helena, I wouldn’t have picked this one as real toddler friendly, but I am thrilled to hear it. I guess it is the combination of rhyme and beautiful illustrations!

  16. I love ALL the Madelines, but the original and this one are my most favorite!

  17. Joyce Ray says:

    I need to find this Madeline book. Thank you for the wonderful review on a book that has stood the test of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.