"To the tiger in the zoo Madeline just said, 'Pooh-pooh'"
Books have always provided me a chance to sort of escape into other places: other cultures, ways of life, & other worlds entirely. One of my favorite things about reading is this opportunity to depart from everyday life. Whether it's a world of reality or fantasy, I can be transported to another place, another time, just by reading a few pages. Whether it is through a favorite children’s book or a most recent book club read, to read is to travel.
The smallest one was Madeline.”
Whether you are a fan of the book or not, you can probably recite this passage by heart. The Madeline series, written by Ludwig Bemelmans, is known and loved all over the world. As a child it was a favorite of mine (I also loved the movie), & today it still is one of my go-to’s. Madeline, the red-headed protagonist, lives in Paris, which to me as a kid was an entirely different world.The dreamy illustrations & rhyming couplets on each page create the perfect space to escape & imagine. In the first book alone, she strolls by all of Paris’ most famous landmarks, stands up to a tiger, & has her appendix out. Reading about her adventures enabled me to close my eyes & pretend I was walking the streets of Paris too.
Another reason that Madeline is a notable book for young girls especially is because she represents a strong female character & role model. In a world saturated with Disney princesses, she is a refreshingly strong & independent "real" girl. Yes, she is the smallest girl, but that doesn't stop her from being the bravest. Her adventures and struggles can teach every young girl a thing or two. She was somebody I wanted to be, & reading these books allowed me to see the world through her eyes. I think the world could use a few more Madelines!
Until next time, I'll leave you with some food for thought:
“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.” — Philip Pullman