Madeline and the Old House in Paris

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Madeline and the Old House in Paris Book Poster Image
Madeline helps a ghost get his wish in charming tale.

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age 15+
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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Readers learn some star-gazing vocabulary including "telescope," "comet," and "observatory," and see some of the sights of Paris, including the Seine (mentioned by name), Canal St. Martin (labeled), and the cathedral of Notre Dame. 

Positive Messages

Don't be too scared to investigate when you hear strange noises. Help a ghost in need. Use your wits to right a wrong and return something to its rightful owner.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Madeline is brave, clever, and helpful -- even to a ghost. She always keeps a positive attitude and is undaunted by setbacks. 

Violence & Scariness

One scary moment is quickly diffused when the kids see the ghost for the first time. "He cried, 'Whoo-hoo!' / The girls and Pepito cried, 'Boohoo.' / But Madeline just said, 'Pooh-pooh.' " The ghost mentions how he died: falling off a roof while looking through his telescope.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Madeline and the Old House in Paris is a fun ghost story by author-illustrator John Bemelmans Marciano, grandson of Madeline series creator Ludwig Bemelmans. The pictures and cute characters (including Pepito, introduced in Madeline and the Bad Hat) make it OK for the publisher's recommended 3-5 age group. But with some content about astronomy, ghosts, and a person dying (the ghost recalls how he died: falling off a roof while looking through his telescope), we think it's best for kids 4 and up.   

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byterry13945 October 23, 2014

the girls idea

I think that u should watch and do things with your family more than what u do right know and u shoud know i do that because when they're out of your life... Continue reading

What's the story?

Lord Cucuface, the head of Madeline's boarding school, shows up for an unscheduled inspection and insists on checking out the attic, which is rumored to be haunted. He doesn't see a ghost but finds a lovely old telescope and takes it home for himself. Later, when Madeline hears moaning and groaning from the attic, she, the girls, and Pepito, the Spanish Ambassador's son, investigate and do find a ghost: a former astronomy buff in a wig and frilly clothes who's sad to find his telescope gone. He explains that he died falling off the roof while trying to witness a comet that nears the Earth only every 221 years. Can Madeline and Pepito retrieve the telescope in time for the ghost to see the comet this time around?

Is it any good?

MADELINE AND THE OLD HOUSE IN PARIS faithfully captures the spirit, poetic rhythm, and look of the beloved original books. This one being a ghost story released in October, it can serve as a Halloween book. Still, it's an exciting adventure for any time of the year. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about ghosts. Why are stories about them so popular? Can you think of others you've read or seen on TV? 

  • Which kind of ghost do you like better: friendly or scary? 

  • Have you read other Madeline books? Which ones are your favorites? How does Madeline and the Old House in Paris compare? 

Book details

For kids who love picture books and halloween stories

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