Monday, August 16, 2010


I simply love some children's books. Sometimes I do wish my kids were still 5 years old and I can still narrate such stories in my own little way. One of these is the series of books about Madeline, a French girl who lives in a boarding school run by Miss Clavel, a nun who tries her best to keep her out of trouble. Madeline is only 7 years old, a little redhead who is known for being the bravest and most outgoing of the girls. Other characters include Genevieve the dog, an extremely intelligent dog with skills such as juggling and arithmetic. She was a stray until she saved Madeline from drowning.

Despite its French setting and French characters, Madeline was actually written by Ludwig Bemelmans, an American author of Belgian, Austrian and German origins. His first book was published in 1939 and when it became a huge success, he continued with more stories into the 1940's and 50's. The series continues to this day, written by Bemelmans' grandson John Bemelmans-Marciano. The books all start with the line "In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines ...". The story is written entirely in rhyme which makes it beautiful to read. And it all ends with Madeline saying "That's all there is; there isn't any more." Though there have been movie adaptations of Madeline, I firmly believe that the books are still the best.

That's all there is; there isn't any more.

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