Madeline and the Cats of Rome

( 4 )

Overview

The Paris skies are gray, so Miss Clavel and the twelve little girls are leaving for brighter weather? spring in Rome. Rome has wonderful sights to see and delicious things to eat, but Madeline also finds an unexpected adventure, involving a thief, a chase, and many, many cats. The first all-new Madeline book in close to fifty years combines a lively story with luminous gouache and watercolor illustrations. Beloved Madeline returns, as brave and irrepressible as ever!

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Overview

The Paris skies are gray, so Miss Clavel and the twelve little girls are leaving for brighter weather? spring in Rome. Rome has wonderful sights to see and delicious things to eat, but Madeline also finds an unexpected adventure, involving a thief, a chase, and many, many cats. The first all-new Madeline book in close to fifty years combines a lively story with luminous gouache and watercolor illustrations. Beloved Madeline returns, as brave and irrepressible as ever!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Piggybacking onto the original Madeline books by his grandfather, Marciano sends the "twelve little girls in two straight lines" to Rome, where his red-haired heroine chases a thief and saves a house full of cats. Like its models, this add-on is filled with both yellow and full-color pages, absurd plot twists and a Bemelmans-style visual guide of places to visit. Regrettably, as in his Madeline Says Merci, Marciano's didactic theme reduces the spirited Madeline to a smug counterfeit. When the thief Catarina explains that she steals only to feed Rome's starving stray cats, Madeline self-righteously says, "While I applaud your charity,/ Let me say this with clarity:/ STEALING IS WRONG-no matter the cause." Awkward syntax and forced rhymes abound ("Madeline said, 'My, what a nice kitten.'/ Her dog was of a different opinion"), and at their best the illustrations are no more than serviceable imitations of Bemelmans's style. The joy and brio of the original books go missing. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The original stories about Madeline have remained popular over the years. Bemelmans's grandson has been inspired by the character and the city of Rome to set Madeline on a new adventure, capturing both the spirit of the rhyming text and the style of the illustration. Miss Clavell and the 12 little girls leave gloomy Paris for the sun, sights and tastes of Rome. There they enjoy touring all the high spots and eating. When they gather for a photo, however, a young girl snatches the camera. Madeline and her dog Genevieve give chase. They end at a shabby house filled with cats. There the young thief claims to steal to support the "orphans of the street," but Madeline insists stealing is wrong. A confrontation follows, ending with both girls at the police station. The plot is a bit muddy, but a happy solution is found at the end. For those who know and value the original stories, this new adventure will refresh pleasant memories while adding an invitation to visit Rome, if only vicariously. For newcomers, this lighthearted adventure should motivate them to seek out the source. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

In the first all-new Madeline book in almost 50 years, Ludwig Bemelmans's grandson tries his hand at re-creating the magic and charm of the boisterous little French girl. In this escapade, Miss Clavel and the girls escape the cold, rainy weather in Paris to enjoy spring in Rome. But when their camera is stolen, Madeline races off to catch the culprit. She tracks her down and discovers one of the hiding places of the famed cats of Rome. When the thief, Caterina, lures Madeline into one of her schemes, both girls are taken to the police station. Madeline is reunited with her teacher and classmates and decides to help Caterina stage a "rescue operation" for the cats. After successfully finding homes for all of the felines, Miss Clavel, Madeline, and the girls bid a fond "Ciao! " to Italy. Marciano includes a list of Roman sites found in the illustrations. Missing, however, is a much-needed author's note explaining the history and significance of the more than 300,000 stray cats that live among the city's monuments and ruins. The artwork isn't as sharp and polished as in the original titles, the plot gets muddled, and the rhythm and rhyme of the text are slightly forced and stilted. Nonetheless, libraries with a large Madeline fan base may want to include this new adventure alongside the originals.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL

Kirkus Reviews
Having inched his way into his grandfather's spotlight with a Madeline board book and other tie-ins, Marciano tries out a full-dress solo performance here-and makes the grade nicely. Looking and sounding just like the classic episodes, this all-original outing takes Madeline and her schoolmates on a rhymed trip to sunny Rome where, after visiting the Sistine Chapel and other familiar sights, she and Genevieve hare off after a young thief who snatches Miss Clavel's camera. After a brisk chase they reclaim the camera, but find themselves (briefly) under arrest and also saddled with an entire old houseful of stray cats. Though an unexplained general costume change partway through breaks the visual continuity, Marciano sketches children, tourists and their surroundings with that old, loose, familiar vim-in (as further homage) alternate sets of full-color scenes and pages in yellow and black. Like the newer Amelia Bedelias, this doesn't exactly take the perennial favorite in new directions, but it does seamlessly extend the series. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670062973
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/4/2008
  • Series: Madeline Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 143,751
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 12.16 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bemelmans Marciano

John Bemelmans Marciano carries on the legacy begun by his grandfather, Ludwig Bemelmans, author and illustrator of the Madeline books, with stunning watercolor artwork and playful, energetic storytelling. John Bemelmans Marciano is the author and illustrator of several other books including Delilah and Bemelmans: The Life and Art of Madeline’s Creator. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    True to the Originals

    If I hadn't known it was written by Ludwig Bemelmans' grandson I would never have guessed so -- the illustrations are perfectly true to the originals. The story is cute and sweet -- just what you would expect from a Madeline story. It is a must-have for any Madeline fan -- young or old.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 9, 2009

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    Posted July 18, 2009

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