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"To the tiger in the zoo Madeline just said, 'Pooh-pooh'"

Posted on June 02, 2014 by Liz Blake | 0 comments

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.

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-

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

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