Thursday, January 7, 2016

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans


When I was a little boy I remember vividly watching the animate cartoon called Madeline. When my grandparents had to babysit me sometimes they were busy and put on cartoons and leave the channel for me and I remember watching this on Disney Channel in the morning/early afternoon and being mesmerized by the story. Typically Madeline is for "girls" but I have gotten to a point in my life that looking back on the programs that I watched shows should be universal especially when this particular character is the leading protagonist of this marvelous story.

If I remember correctly I do not know if I ever finished Madeline but it was always generalized that Madeline was French, who lived in an Orphanage with other girls, and Miss Clavel is a nun. I think on the universal level this is what everyone believes to be true! WELL YOU ARE WRONG! I started reading Madeline because I discover the complete collection at my library and since this was during the Holidays, I saw that it included a Christmas book and decided to check it out. I rated on Goodreads that I had previously read this book and that may be true but in all honesty I do not remember if I simply looked at the artwork or actually read Madeline.

In this first book alone you learn that Madeline has at least real Father because he is mentioned as "Papa", and because she has a father it means she does not live in an orphanage instead it is a boarding school. Doing some research, the grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans who has written more Madeline books in the past decades, he mentions that Miss Clavel is not a nun instead she is a nurse and Madeline is American. I can understand the Miss Clavel mixed up but in this first book alone it is not implied that Madeline is American because there is no dialogue that illustrates that she is either French or American so we will see the next book.

This book alone deserves high ratings solely on the illustrations. Clearly this series isn't supposed to show much dialogue and instead illustrate and illuminate the beauty of Paris by showcasing famous places like Notre Dame, Opera House, Jardin du Luxembourg, and other iconic locations that give Paris its beauty and charm. I was in Paris over a year ago and these drawings brought wonderful memories of my experience and I cherished the line in the story where the girls are walking in the rain at Notre Dame and I experience a similar fate on my last day in Paris it was raining one afternoon and I was near Notre Dame trying to find a place to eat in the rain and in the end decided to take the Subway back to the Hotel.

In Madeline we get to learn that all these girls live together and perform everything together. They brush their teeth, eat their breakfast, and travel together whether rain or sunshine. Then one night Miss Clavel feels a disturbance in the Force (Sorry I'm still high on my Star Wars experience) and checks up on the girls and immediately Madeline is screaming and in tears. Miss Clavel calls the doctor and tells her that Madeline needs to attend to the Hospital.

At the hospital, Madeline discovers her appendix ruptured and they perform surgery and everything is perfect. Her room is surrounded by flowers and toys by Papa and the girls visit her and are amazed when they see her scar and they cannot wait to see Madeline back at the Boarding School. That is the end for the 1st book. They made a live-action of Madeline and I saw it a couple of times as a child but I do not know if I enjoyed the film or simply watched it because it was Madeline. 

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