Mad About Madeline

Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
Mad About Madeline Book Poster Image
The stories vary in quality but still delight.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The gypsies are stereotyped. Pepito teases and is cruel to animals.

Violence & Scariness

Dogs attack Pepito.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids will love the energetic artwork and the spunky heroine of this adventurous tale.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byderpid October 9, 2018


derpidity is max here (stupid=derp)... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In brisk and bouncy verse, fearless Madeline has her appendix removed, falls into the Seine, and joins a circus. The stories vary in quality but will delight Madeline's fans. Bemelmans's illustrations are delightful. This edition includes original sketches, an essay by Bemelmans, and a fine introduction by former columnist Anna Quindlen.


Is it any good?

Bemelmans skillfully places every adventure within a familiar routine. The girls leave the house at half past nine, and after some wild adventure, they are back at the table or tucked into bed. Children love to recite the beginning, "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines ...," and the reassuring ending, "Thank the Lord you are well! And now go to sleep," said Miss Clavel."

A careful reader of Bemelmans will notice, however, that his rhyme and rhythm were often strained. The writing in the original story, "Madeline," is by far the best: It's briskly paced without any rough spots. In later stories, the rhyme is forced in a number of places, as in Madeline and the Gypsies, where Miss Clavel says, "Here is a freshly laundered shirty / It's better to be clean than dirty." But awkward rhymes are forgiven when you focus on Bemelmans's skill as an artist. His landscapes, with broad strokes and ornate details, capture the city so well. You can almost feel the rain in front of Notre Dame.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why (to quote Anna Quindlen's introduction) American children "who go to a day school, have never visited Paris or worn a uniform" love the little schoolgirl so much. What is it about Madeline that makes her such an appealing and enduring character? Does she have any traits that you admire?

Book details

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate