Madeline (Little Golden Book)
|Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. First published by Simon & Schuster, 1939.|
Pictured here are the current hardcover by Viking Penguin, 1958,
and the Little Golden Book edition by Simon & Schuster, 1954.
I loved this book as a child. I think I was familiar with the 1952 UPA cartoon first. It frequently aired on Nickelodeon's Pinwheel. My first Madeline book was Madeline and the Bad Hat. My grandmother found a used copy at a garage sale. It lives on my daugters' shelves now. We have a treasury of all five original Bemelmans's books, as well as the hardcover reprint of the first book by Viking Penguin. The Little Golden Book is so interesting, though, because of the COLORS!
Surely, you know this book. "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines / lived twelve little girls in two straight lines." Madeline is the smallest and bravest of the girls, but one night, she wakes up crying and screaming. The doctor comes and diagnoses appendicitis. She is raced to the hospital. One day, the other girls visit and are amazed by the toys and candy gifts Madeline has received. She also shows off her scar. That night, Miss Clavel is awakened by more crying. She rushes to the room. "We want our appendix out, too!" the girls wail. By the way, the final line ("And that's all there is. There isn't any more.") was a tribute to stage actress Ethel Barrymore, who famously uttered those words during curtain call one night. (See more facts via Mental Floss.)
The text is the same, but there are fewer illustrations. As you can see, in the original hardcover, there are individual illustrations for "the smallest one was Madeline" and "She was not afraid of mice" and "She loved winter, snow, and ice." In the Little Golden Book version, all of that text appears on one page.
To make the book more visually appealing in its smaller format, color was added! Have a look at the original two-color version of this page, compared to the full-color page in the Little Golden Book.
Here is another example.
In addition to the Madeline minisite run by Penguin, there is an official Madeline website at Madeline.com.
More fun links:
An NPR story about the character's 75th birthday, last year.
A New York Times article about the character, and a recent art exhibit at the New York Historical Society.
And while younger kids enjoyed multiple Madeline adventures on television and film, I grew up with this: