Madlenka by Peter Sís, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Madlenka

Madlenka

by Peter Sís, Peter Sis
     
 

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Peeking out through a die-cut window on the jacket, Madlenka invites the reader to enter her world. And what a world it is! On the surface, it looks like an ordinary city block, but as we meet Madlenka's neighbors -- the French baker, the Indian news vendor, the Italian ice-cream man, the Latin American grocer, a retired opera singer from Germany, an African

Overview

Peeking out through a die-cut window on the jacket, Madlenka invites the reader to enter her world. And what a world it is! On the surface, it looks like an ordinary city block, but as we meet Madlenka's neighbors -- the French baker, the Indian news vendor, the Italian ice-cream man, the Latin American grocer, a retired opera singer from Germany, an African American school friend, and the Asian shopkeeper -- and look through die-cut windows to the images and memories they have carried from old country to new, we can see that Madlenka's block is as richly varied as its inhabitants. And why is Madlenka going around the block, jumping for joy? Her tooth is loose, and she wants everyone to know!

Peter Sís was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and studied painting and filmmaking at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and at the Royal College of Art in London. His many books include two Caldecott Honor winners: Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei and Tibet Through the Red Box. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Editorial Reviews

barnesandnoble.com
Madlenka lives in New York City, and a trip around her block is like a trip around the world. Everyone knows the friendly little girl -- from the French baker and the Indian news vendor to the Italian ice-cream man and the Asian shopkeeper. When Madlenka has some good news to share, she visits all her multicultural neighbors -- and they shower her with treats and kind words. With Madlenka, two-time Caldecott Honor-winning author Peter Sis delivers an exquisite tale featuring see-through windows and stunningly detailed illustrations -- a book that allows readers to peek into Madlenka's magical world and celebrate the wonders of different people and different places.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Incorporating many of the visually astonishing methods of Tibet Through the Red Box, S s chronicles the adventures of a New York City girl (based on S s's own daughter) whose loose tooth occasions a one-of-a-kind round-the-world tour. S s reels readers into Madlenka's neighborhood using meticulous cross-hatch drawings with a pale blue-gray wash: a distant view of the earth, then a continent, then an island--all with tiny red dots--lead up to the title page, which zeroes in on Madlenka's building on her block on Manhattan's Lower East Side. At last, the red dot becomes distinguishable as Madlenka's blouse as she stands in the window on the fourth floor. Discovering her tooth loose, the girl runs down the three flights of stairs to spread the news. The moment Madlenka makes her announcement, "Hey, everyone my tooth is loose!" her block breaks out of its box-like shape and transforms into a round carousel bursting with color. Here S s sets the rhythm for the balance of the book. Madlenka's first stop is the French bakery. A silhouette image of the heroine appears at the left of the spread, as she calls out to the baker, "Hello, Mr. Gaston. My tooth is loose!" S s frames her image with a scaled-down version of the city block and a border that highlights the bakery's yields. On the right-hand side of the spread, Mr. Gaston enters his p tisserie carrying baguettes ("Bonjour, Madeleine. Let's celebrate"); through a die-cut view of a tapestry in his shop window, readers see the Eiffel Tower flying the French flag. A turn of the page reveals a spread of the Eiffel Tower surrounded by not only Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe, but also Bemelmans's Madeline and Saint-Exup ry's Little Prince. Her visit to Mr. Singh's newsstand ("Sathsariakal, Madela") offers a glimpse of India; a stop at Mr. Ciao's ice cream truck ("Buon giorno, Maddalena"), a taste of Italy. Each of her visits sparks similar exchanges and other distant destinations, but thanks to S s's careful buildup, the shops and their keepers retain a cozy proximity. As he did with Tibet Through the Red Box, S s takes readers to exotic lands, yet continues to bring them back to the comfort of what they know. In Tibet, it was the father's study; here, it is Madlenka's block. When Madlenka returns home and tells her parents that she "went all around the world," readers will feel that they, too, have been armchair travelers, delivered safely home in S s's capable hands. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
For Madlenka a trip around the world is as close as her own neighborhood. Delighted with her wobbly tooth, she sets off to announce to everyone, "my tooth is loose." Monsieur Gaston, the baker, welcomes her with a bonjour and a step inside his shop is a virtual tour of France. So it is with Mr. Singh at his newsstand, Mr. Ciao in his ice cream truck, Mr. Eduardo, the green grocer, Magda, the very cool Cleopatra, and Mrs. Kham in her shop of Asian delights. Upon her return to her own apartment when her frantic parents inquire as to her whereabouts, Madlenka proudly proclaims that she has been around the world and she has lost a tooth. The incredible artistry of Peter Sis knows no bounds in the visually appealing and immensely accessible picture book. Zooming in from outer space, the eye follows a tiny red dot to the planet, a continent, a busy New York city block, finally to an apartment window where Madlenka stands. Color is used sparingly but dramatically to draw attention to small details. Diecut storefront windows reveal a rich visual of each owner's country of origin. Always, there is the delightful Madlenka in her yellow boots and umbrella. Typeface changes, text runs around the edges or under the illustrations in the hurried fashion of this whirlwind tour. When at last the reader reaches the end, he or she cannot help but want to go back and start all over again, so captivating is this book. A solid winner. 2000, Farrar, Ages 5 to 10, $17.00. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-A little girl joyfully skips around her New York City block to proclaim the news that her tooth is loose. In S's's hands, this is a journey filled with mystical creatures and magical symbols, as the child is greeted by an international panoply of merchants and neighbors. The tale unfolds as Madlenka first gives a realistic description of what she enjoys at each location, followed by a fanciful dreamscape of what she encounters in each world. She visits an Indian news vendor, an Italian ice-cream seller, a Latin greengrocer, among others, before returning home and explaining to her worried parents where's she's been. "Well-I went around the world. And I lost my tooth!" The opening pages depict increasingly focused aerial views, starting with a red dot on the globe on the endpapers and moving to a dizzying child's perspective of surrounding skyscrapers. Centered square or circular die-cuts frame the little blonde figure clad in pink on the left, offering glimpses into exotic lands on the right. The stark white background around the child contrasts effectively with the dark ink-and-watercolor scenes once the threshold has been crossed. Groups will be captivated by the concept and the drama provided by the die-cuts and the fantastic settings. Individuals will pore over the many details, delighting in the emergence of forms and meaning provided by close inspection. An odyssey made all the more wondrous by pairing a big moment in a small child's life with the happenings in the cosmos.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Madlenka is losing her tooth and sets out to make her happy announcement to everyone in her multiethnic New York City neighborhood. This brief story captures all of Sís's most distinguished qualities of dreamlike mystery while remaining accessible to younger children. The book is meticulously designed, from the endpapers, which show New York as a flyspeck on planet Earth and zoom in on Madlenka's city, neighborhood, block, house; to the book's square shape that replicates Madlenka's block; to the die cuts through which readers view Madlenka on the one hand and a distant culture on the other. As she visits each shop on her block, Madlenka shares her news with a shopkeeper from another country who literally offers a visual window on his culture (France, India, Italy, Latin America, Africa, Asia). Ingenious page design often demands that the reader rotate the page, just as Madlenka herself, always visible safely at the center, circumscribes the block and by extension the globe. While cultural appreciation and inclusiveness are Sís's clear intent, some concerns must be noted. Madlenka's culturally diverse neighbors are as overly costumed as collectible "dolls-of-all-nations." Doubtless Mr. Singh (India) does wear a turban, but he may not wear pointy-toed shoes. The exotic costumes may also prove misleading to suburban children who also live with people of many cultures, but who likely see more assimilation in styles of dress. The exquisite double-page spreads invite close inspection, but prove unequal in content and specificity: the European cultures are rich in historic and cultural minutiae, while Africa and Latin America reveal a paucityof detail.Sadly, comparison is unavoidable. There is a lamentable lack of differentiation in world regions. Thus Asia, Latin America, and Africa are treated as one country visually, which will be deceiving to young readers. Undeniably clever, well-intentioned, and beautiful, but flawed. (Picture book. 3-6)

From the Publisher

“For Madlenka, who has just discovered that she has a loose tooth, the block is a world unto itself, a familiar, self-contained place and also a realm of infinite newness and variety, always reassuringly the same and yet constantly changing its shape, color and texture. Her adventure is perfectly ordinary and completely magical, like the wonderful, scary experience of losing a tooth. . . . The book's design is ingenious, a kind of two-dimensional hypertext of maps and windows that allows you to flip from the cartography of real places to a geography of pure imagination. . . . A book to be read slowly and repeatedly.” —The New York Times Book Review

“As he did with Tibet Through the Red Box, Sís takes readers to exotic lands, yet continues to bring them back to the comfort of what they know. . . . When Madlenka returns home and tells her parents that she ‘went all around the world,' readers will feel that they, too, have been armchair travelers, delivered safely home in Sís's capable hands.” —Publishers Weekly

“Visually stunning . . . The real magic comes in the cleverly cut-away windows in each storefront through which children glimpse complex, global dreamscapes. Madlenka journeys through these mystical places, too, and it is these surreal, wordless stories-within-the-story that will excite a wide range of children, launching them in their own imagined departures.” —Booklist, Boxed Review

“[Sís] incorporates simple and telling details--real and imaginary--into his rich and sophisticated art. Illustrations are intricate, providing plenty to see on every turn of the page. Several ingenious cut-outs provide literal peeks into this international city.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“This brief story captures all of Sís's most distinguished qualities of dreamlike mystery while remaining accessible to younger children. The book is meticulously designed . . . The exquisite double-page spreads invite close inspection . . . Undeniably clever, well-intentioned, and beautiful.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In Sís's hands, this is a journey filled with mystical creatures and magical symbols, as the child is greeted by an international panoply of merchants and neighbors. . . . The stark white background around the child contrasts effectively with the dark ink-and-watercolor scenes once the threshold has been crossed. Groups will be captivated by the concept and the drama provided by the die-cuts and the fantastic settings. Individuals will pore over the many details, delighting in the emergence of forms and meaning provided by close inspection. An odyssey made all the more wondrous by pairing a big moment in a small child's life with the happenings in the cosmos.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374399696
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
10/04/2000
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
10.32(w) x 10.34(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD110L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

PETER SÍS was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and studied painting and filmmaking at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and at the Royal College of Art in London. His many books include two Caldecott Honor winners: Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei and Tibet Through the Red Box. He lives in New York City.

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