Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks


Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
Madeline Book Poster Image
Rhyming classic is a sure winner with kids.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Madeline features beautiful illustrations of existing Parisian landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Readers will be captivated by the meticulously drawn images while still getting an accurate sense of these famous locations in Paris.

Positive Messages

The girls visit Madeline in the hospital, displaying a great sense of compassion and concern for their dear friend. Madeline also possesses a love for adventure that often requires curiosity and bravery - characteristics that can be inspired in readers as well.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Madeline is a fearless character who isn't afraid to go near a zoo tiger, touch a mouse, or even get her appendix removed. In fact, her bravery and the scar she has to show for it prove to be inspiring - albeit naively - to the other girls attending the same boarding school, as they find themselves wanting a similar scar by the end of the book.

Violence & Scariness

Madeline cries in pain due to an ache in her appendix and has to have it surgically removed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the heroine demonstrates courage, and her teacher and schoolmates show concern and compassion. The brisk rhyme moves the story along, and the illustrations capture children's interest.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17 year old Written bySleepangel June 16, 2010

A book, timeless and transending

Seeing this book again, after So many years........ well, it was like a part of me from long ago, re-ignited with memory's of my childhood. Thank you for s... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
Wonderful classic for all ages! At the end, though, all of the other girls want their appendixes out so they can get all the toys like Madeline...
Teen, 13 years old Written byreviewgirl13 June 26, 2009

Great for little kids!

Okay, the books and the movies delighted me so much when I was 5 and 6 years old! Of course, I don't think they're that great now, but back then I lo... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byliza April 9, 2008

Icried! Ilaughed

I think it is important to care yourself or hisself because you can live safley at the world!!

What's the story?

Twelve boarding school girls live in an old house covered with vines, and they walk in two straight lines wherever they go with their teacher, Miss Clavel. Madeline, the smallest, is not afraid of lions or mice. Then their routine is interrupted by a late-night rush to the hospital -- Madeline has to have her appendix out! After the operation, Miss Clavel, brings the girls to visit. Madeline has many gifts and flowers - -but likes her scar best of all. The story ends with the other girls crying, \"Boohoo, we want to have our appendix out, too!\"

Is it any good?

Children take to MADELINE instantly, perhaps because they love the routine of the 12 girls forming two straight lines while walking, eating, and sleeping. But before that predictability gets boring, here is Madeline, who is small yet brave, and loves winter. But this indomitable spirit is reduced to tears one night -- something must be wrong. Ludwig Bemelmans exactly captures the mix of concern and envy children feel about another sick child who gets attention.

Although few kids attend boarding schools or know why Miss Clavel wears a veil, they understand Madeline's spunk and courage. Bemelmans' illustrations match his narrative, alternating from quick cartoonlike sketches to lavish panoramas of architectural landmarks. Both adults and children like Bemelmans art: It's sophisticated, yet full of energy and detail. Mad About Madeline: The Complete Tales contains all the stories in the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Paris. Parents can point out landmarks in the illustrations and seek out other books or films set in Paris. Ask kids to identify what they think are local landmarks.

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 and learning potential.

Learn how we rate