Bibliographic Information: Bemelmans, Ludwig. (1993). Madeline. New York: Scholastic.
Plot Description: Miss Clavel watches over her charges (twelve little girls) with care. The twelve little girls do everything together: walk, eat, smile, frown, brush their teeth, sleep, etc. The smallest and bravest of the girls is Madeline. She isn’t afraid of mice or tigers and frequently makes Miss Clavel nervous. One night Miss Clavel wakes with the feeling something is not right. She rushes to the big room where all the little girls sleep and finds Madeline crying in pain. The doctor is sent for and soon calls for the ambulance to take Madeline to the hospital for appendicitis. The twelve little girls and Miss Clavel come to visit Madeline in the hospital, where she has received many gifts from her Papa. That night Miss Clavel again awakens with the fear that something is wrong and finds all the little girls crying because they want their appendix out too so they can go to the hospital and receive gifts like Madeline.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: AD480L Interest Level: Lower Grades ATOS Book Level: 3.1
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story features verse, rhythm and rhyme. Organization is clear and chronological. Graphics directly support the story and add to understanding, but are not necessary for understanding. Language is explicit and straightforward. Text features organize information explicitly to guide the reader. Italics are used to show surprise when the little girls visit Madeline at the hospital. At the end of the book the last three lines of the story get gradually smaller as if the reader were getting further and further away from the story, as it comes to an end. The story is told by a third-person omniscient narrator who is a credible voice and gives details, leaving little hidden from the reader’s view. The narrator follows Miss Clavel and the girls and then also shows Madeline when she leaves them for the hospital, as well as what is happening back at the house with the 11 other little girls and Miss Clavel.
Content Area: Reading, Literature
Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
Curriculum Suggestions: Identify rhyming words in text. Discuss the effect of rhyming on the way the story sounds when read and how this influences the meaning of the story. Have students create their own rhyming phrases based on provided pictures. Have students identify the who, what, where and when of the story, including characters and the difference between major and minor characters, landmarks that tell us where the story takes place and details that hint at the time period.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: Caldecott Honor; ALA Notable/Best Books
Series information: 1st book in the Madeline Series
Character names/descriptions: Madeline, Miss Clavel
Personal Thoughts: I remember reading the Madeline books as a child and enjoying the way they sounded when read aloud. I have always loved hearing about far off places, so the setting of Paris also intrigued me.
High interest annotation: Meet Madeline, the bravest of the Miss Clavel’s charges, in the first of her many adventures through Paris