Madeline's Christmas Book Poster Image

Madeline's Christmas



Madeline is her spunky self in Christmas tale.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids get to see what Paris looks like when flying over it -- in this case, on a magic carpet.

Positive messages

It's wonderful to be able to spend the holdiays with family, thanks to the kindness of friends.

Positive role models

Madeline is spunky and helpful, the magical carpet salesman is kind and Miss Clavel keeps everyone on track.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in this Madeline adventure, the Parisian boarding school mates go home for the holidays with the help of a magician.

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What's the story?

One day, a carpet merchant comes to the door of the old Parisian house where Madeline lives and goes to school. He has 12 carpets to sell, and Madeline buys them all for herself and and her schoolmates. He returns and works his magic to help the girls get home to their parents for Christmas.


Is it any good?


Madeline is her usual spunky self in this Christmastime tale, and the rhyming is brisk and strong, despite a borrowed verse from "The Night Before Christmas" that breaks the rhythm in the beginning.

The hocus-pocus is fun for kids, but one wonders why the children weren't already scheduled to go home for the holidays without the help of a magician. Because the book was originally published as a special insert in McCall's magazine, some of the illustrations have a quick, more focused appearance than Ludwig Bemelmans' usually broad landscapes. However, one panoramic painting shows a fabulous magic-carpet ride over Paris rooftops. Madeline's fans will enjoy this story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about kindness. How does Madeline help her classmates and Miss Clavel? How does she help the carpet merchant the first time he appears, and the second time? How does the merchant repay her kindness?

  • There are several books in the original Madeline series. How does this one compare to the others?

Book details

Author:Ludwig Bemelmans
Illustrator:Ludwig Bemelmans
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:October 1, 1985
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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Adult Written byDaddy-o April 9, 2008

The Sell-out Sequel

Madeline's Christmas appears to have been a quick and desperate attempt by Bemelmans to cash in on the Madeline franchise. The rhymes are tired, the illustrations are poor and often hard to decipher, and the story line is bizarre. It concludes with Miss Clavel breaking the "spell" that allowed the children a chance to see their parents on Christmas Eve. This book is a big disappointment with a cruel twist, making it one of the worst children's "sell-out sequels" I've ever read.


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