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Madlenka's Dog
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Madlenka's Dog

by Peter Sís, Peter Sis (Illustrator)

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Another delightful romp around Madlenka's city block

Madlenka wants a dog! She doesn't really care what kind, so long as it's a dog that she can put on a leash and walk around the block. But her mother and father say NO! What is Madlenka to do? It just takes some imagination . . . Madlenka's friends on the block all play along, remembering the dogs of


Another delightful romp around Madlenka's city block

Madlenka wants a dog! She doesn't really care what kind, so long as it's a dog that she can put on a leash and walk around the block. But her mother and father say NO! What is Madlenka to do? It just takes some imagination . . . Madlenka's friends on the block all play along, remembering the dogs of their childhood, and in the end it seems quite possible that there's more to Madlenka's dog than we can see. With his considerable charm, Peter Sís uses lift-up flaps and peek-through windows to bring us into Madlenka's magical world where play and fantasy make wishes come true.

Madlenka's Dog is a 2002 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. This title has Common Core connections.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Inspiring memories in the old and imagination in the young, the dog is a noble beast indeed, and Madlenka's Dog's resonant intergenerational connections make it an inspired choice for sharing.” —Starred, The Horn Book
The Barnes & Noble Review
The power of imagination is an unparalleled force. Peter Sís celebrates this awesome ability in his charming city girl, first introduced in Madlenka. In that book, Sís showed us Madlenka's diverse neighborhood filled with people of every ethnic background. In this exquisite picture book, Madlenka has one thing on her mind -- she wants a dog! When Mom and Dad don't give in to the little blonde one's request, Madlenka lets her imagination take hold. Soon, she is tying a bright red leash on her new, imaginary dog. As she strolls through her awesome 'hood, her neighbors comment on the delightful pooch. Mr. Gaston, the baker, sees a white french poodle. Mr. Eduardo sees a big and woolly furry friend. Sís uses lift-up flaps to feature the neighbors' versions of Madlenka's dog. And it seems that everyone imagines their childhood pet, as each dog is paired in the illustrations with a child resembling each of the neighbors.

Madlenka meets up with her friend Cleopatra, who just happens to be playing with her imaginary horse. Together, the two conjure up a variety of exotic locales. Using die-cut windows, Sís allows readers see the two girls as they pretend they are princesses in a dragon-filled land, mummies in Egypt, and Eskimos in Alaska -- all with their precious dog and horse by their side. When Madlenka is called home, the two girls go their separate ways. As Madlenka walks back to her apartment, she is followed by more than two dozen precious pooches. "I'm home!" she announces, with the clan of canines happily surrounding her.

Peter Sís weaves a magical tale using a simple concept matched with brilliantly detailed illustrations. A black-and-white sketched background, reminiscent of the gray city streets, makes Sís' use of color more dramatic. The adorable Madlenka, with her red T-shirt and mop of blonde hair, and Cleopatra, in her lemon-yellow dress, shine through as the true stars. Their escape into faraway lands produces a colorful and creative contrast to the backdrop of the city buildings. Sís' simple text and brilliant designs are a homage to the potential of imagination and the spirit of the one and only Madlenka. (Amy Barkat)

Publishers Weekly
Favorite characters return for more fun and games. Her persistent requests for a dog denied, Madlenka takes matters into her own hands (and gets more than she bargained for) in Madlenka's Dog by Peter Sis. As Madlenka strolls her city block with her imaginary dog on a leash, lift-up flaps and die-cut windows reveal her neighbors' own dream dogs. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
"In the universe, on a planet, in a country, in a city, in a house on a block where everyone is walking a dog, there lives a girl named Madlenka who wants a dog very much." Thus begins a haunting story that celebrates the power of a child's imagination to create her heart's desire. As Madlenka goes out walking her imaginary dog, on its real leash, she meets others who cherish the memories of bygone dogs in their hearts¾each dog shown under a lift-up flap, so that, for example, the baker's childhood dog appears under the flap made by his tray of just-baked croissants. Every adult was once a child; every adult once had a beloved dog of his or her own. Finally, Madlenka, with her imaginary dog, and her friend Cleopatra, with her imaginary horse, set off on a series of elaborate adventurous journeys in their apartment-building courtyard, until Madlenka returns home, followed by all the dogs she has summoned through her imagination. This is a gentle, unusual, magical book, which will reward many readings. 2002, Farrar/Frances Foster,
— Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-S's's little girl returns for another walk around her city block, this time with an invisible dog. Again, she meets friendly people representing a wide variety of cultures. Each person remembers a dog he or she loved, and when readers lift a flap over what an individual is carrying, they see a picture of the dog and youthful owner together. Later, Madlenka meets her friend Cleopatra, who loves horses as much as she loves dogs. The girls then imagine themselves in exotic settings. Peekaboo cutouts as well as extravagant colors are featured in this part of the book. The writing is straightforward and simple while the artwork makes beautiful use of detail, color, and space. Madlenka's parents' dismay at their daughter's wish for a dog is humorously shown through the body language of simple silhouettes. Small but effective touches of warmth and color accent the drab gray of the city streets. While not as distinctive or original as some of S's's more ambitious work, this title celebrates the power of imagination and shows a child finding real joy in her community.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The urban child introduced in Madlenka (2000) takes another stroll around her multicultural block, this time accompanied by an imaginary but convincingly present dog. After introducing her new pet to Mr. Gaston the baker, Michiko the painter, and other adult friends, each of whom sees it as a different breed, Madlenka joins her friend Cleopatra, and her invisible horse, for a series of wordless adventures in polar snows, ancient Egyptian sands, and various locales between. Sís adds artfully placed die-cut holes and shaped flaps within his richly ornamented scenes, making this a book designer's dream as well as a time- and world-spanning sojourn full of visual surprises and pleasures. And when Madlenka is finally called home, she arrives trailed by more than two dozen very visible canine companions. The human and canine cast both are identified on the final page of this fantastical, brilliantly imagined outing. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.26(w) x 10.26(h) x 0.41(d)
BR (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Sís has written and illustrated many award-winning books for children, including Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei and Tibet Through the Red Box, both Caldecott Honor Books. He lives in New York City.

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