Madeline has stolen our hearts for the past 75 years! 75 years of solid readership! Not bad for a picture book written in 1939.
Madeline’s Rescue was our first introduction to the Madeline Series, written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans. It was published in 1953 and is the second book in the Madeline Series and won the Caldecott Medal for illustration. The familiar story begins once again with the addition of a new character--- Genevieve:
In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. They left the house at half past nine in two straight lines in rain or shine. The smallest one was Madeline. She was not afraid of mice. She loved winter, snow, and ice. To the tiger in the zoo Madeline just said, “Pooh pooh!”… And nobody knew so well how to frighten Miss Clavel--- until the day she slipped and fell.
Madeline’s Rescue reiterates the first few pages included in the introduction to the first book, Madeline (1939), but with an addition of a new epilogue. Madeline finds herself again in need of a rescue, except this time instead of a Doctor, the heroine is a female stray dog.
The new pupil was ever so helpful and clever. The dog loved biscuits, milk, and beef and they named it Genevieve.
She causes Miss Clavel such grief as the girls fight over her, but Genevieve is much loved.
All was well until Lord CuCuface banishes her to the streets!
Madeline jumped on a chair.
“Lord Cucuface,” she cried, “beware!“Miss Genevieve, noblest dog in France,
“You shall have your VEN-GE-ANCE!”
They went searching high and low but came home broken-hearted. Again sensing something was not right, Miss Clavel turned on the light and found Genevieve outside.
That evening there was ruckus and a fight as each girl claimed “Geneive is mine tonight!”
The third time that night, after Miss Clavel turned on the light, she found “That suddenly there was enough hound to go all around!”
We have a very dear connection to Madeline and our collection of favorites now includes various titles, a beloved doll and quite a few animated retellings of the books, which we have grown to love so much. It would seem that Madeline was born from Bemelmans’s heart, straight into the hearts of many and many more to come!
Bemelmans & Gazelle
In an essay reliving his memories from birth to age six entitled Swan Country, Bemelmans describes events that add a particular candid undertone to the artwork and story behind his creation of Madeline. Bemelmans was born in Austria in 1898 and spent his early days being cared for by a French governess, whom he referred to as Gazelle, his pronunciation of mademoiselle. Bemelmans recalls his father’s departure from his family, as well as the sudden loss of Gazelle. In the photo on the right, he draws a picture of he and Gazelle sitting in a Gazebo covered in vines, much like the "old house in Paris" he describes in his books. He also calls to attention the stories of his mother, who would tell him stories of when she grew up in a convent. It is an interesting and revealing read.
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