Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Children's Review: Madeline at the White House

 This is the story of Madeline's trip to the White House, where she meets the President's only daughter, Candle, who most of the time feels lonely and bored. Candle is isolated, but finds that she has a true friend in Madeline. The girls take a ride on a magic tide of cherry blossom throughout the capital of our country, and readers get to see the sights rendered in perfectly enchanting watercolors. 

Madeline at the White House was gifted to me by my mother while I was attending college in Washington, D.C. (I've since transferred back to Massachusetts.) When I was a child, Madeline was my favorite literary character (for obvious reasons- although my name is spelled a tad different), and I still have a collection of Madeline dolls for every season and occasion. What I love most about this book is the backstory- it was originally a collaboration between Ludwig Bemelmans (the author of the original Madeline) and his dear friend, Jacqueline Kennedy. Not only am I a huge fan of the Madeline series, I'm also a huge fan of Jackie Kennedy. That woman emanated class as First Lady, and her style is iconic and endlessly inspiring. I loved that this was an idea that the two of them worked on, but sadly it never came to fruition as Bemelmans passed away before they could collaborate further. His grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, came upon the project while researching his grandfather's life, and decided that it was time to bring the book to life. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this book is the masterpiece of the Madeline collection, but I did enjoy the book and would recommend it for any young readers who already enjoy the adventures of Madeline. This would also be a great gift for any children as a precursor to a trip to D.C., as they would be able to make text-to-world connections between the illustrations and the monuments, as well as make text-to-self connections between Madeline's experience and their own. 

Bottom Line Rating: 3/5
Recommended for children ages 3-5 years (Preschool & Kindergarten)

Title: Madeline at the White House
Author: John Bemelmans Marciano
Publisher: Viking Juvenile, 2011
Price: $17.99
ISBN: 9780670012282
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted

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