I bought Mad About Madeline secondhand at a bookstore. Its pages have yellow stains, but the wear of the book didn’t detract from the charm of the book. Every story is told in rhyme and is illustrated with bold paintings, interspersed with simple line drawings. The stories make a fun read, while Madeline remains a perfect role model from the day she burst on the book scene in the 1930s to today when we still need small girls with big hearts.
Over ten million copies of the six Madeline books have sold worldwide. Simon & Schuster originally published the first, but Viking Press took on the property, including buying the first book rights, afterwards. Since then Madeline has been translated into French, Japanese, German and, most recently, Polish. Her sense of adventure and independence is something that has easily transcended borders. All six titles sell consistently well. In 1993 Viking also introduced a Mad About Madeline hardcover. The book is a compilation of all Bemelmans’ stories, plus an introduction by Anna Quindlen, a short biography and family pictures. A Book of the Month Club edition sold over one hundred thousand copies of the hardcover.
Meet Madeline! She lives in an old house in Paris that is covered with vines and is one of twelve little girls. As we soon discover, Madeline might be the smallest of the girls but she is also brave and adventurous. She is not afraid of mice, loves winter, snow, and ice, and says “Pooh-hooh” to a tiger at the zoo. Two of the girls’ adventures happen right in the house. The other four happen after the girls set out at nine in two straight lines to explore Paris. You can read all six adventures in Mad About Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.
‘Mad about Madeline has been very successful for us,’ says Regina Hayes, publisher at Viking Children’s Books,’It seems like adults were not only buying the books for girls, but as keepsakes of this character from their childhood.’