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Family and Children


Mad About Madeline:
The Complete Tales

SAVE 30%

This elegant volume -- perhaps one of the best gift books on the planet -- contains all six adventures of the irrepressible, mischievous Madeline (the smallest and spunkiest of the twelve little girls in two straight lines). Ludwig Bemelmans's Madeline was first published in 1939, and its five sequels have all become classics. In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen's introduction to Mad About Madeline she writes, "Amid a childhood full of children's books, amid glorious pictures and imaginative plots, it is worth wondering why this story is among a handful of books that now-grown children invariably buy for their own more than half a century after Ludwig Bemelmans began writing it on the back of a restaurant menu."

Mad About Madeline

by Ludwig Bemelmans,
Anna Quindlen

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover - 316 pages
Published in October 1993
by Viking Press
Usually ships
within 24 hours.
List Price: $35.00
Our Price:
You Save: $10.50
ISBN: 0670851876

Inside this hefty, richly illustrated edition, you'll find Madeline , Madeline and the Bad Hat , Madeline's Rescue , Madeline and the Gypsies , Madeline in London , and Madeline's Christmas , in addition to Quindlen's splendidly insightful introduction, an essay by Bemelmans on how he invented Madeline, never-before-published working sketches of Madeline, and photos of the Bemelmans family. The perfect gift for anyone who has made friends with -- or should be introduced to -- the precocious Madeline. (The jaunty verse makes Madeline perfect for reading aloud, and readers ages 6 and older will enjoy sounding out names such as Lord Cucuface.)

Other recommended children's books

Discover France!

We've received letters from prospective travelers to France, who are concerned about whether they should bring their young children with them, or whether they will encounter problems with accomodations and other services.

Suffice it to say that foreign travel may be the most eye-opening and wondrous experience you could possibly offer your children. They will treasure the adventure of exploring sights and sounds in a foreign culture for a long time, and it will likely serve as inspiration to study foreign language in school, as well as to return for other visits later in life. Perhaps most importantly, it will help to foster in them a greater sense of understanding, a tolerance for -- and appreciation of -- cultures different than their own, which will be an asset in their relationships throughout their lives.

From personal experience, as an American child traveling in Europe with my parents long ago, the memories of our adventures abroad are still vivid. Later on, I became an enthusiastic student of French language, leading to a wonderful academic year abroad, and ultimately to the creation of the web site you're visiting now. In college, while taking a class in art appreciation, I was amazed at how many paintings, sculptures, and architectural landmarks I recognized in the textbooks, jogging my memories of countless museums we visited and excursions we took so long ago.

Yes, whatever you can do to expose your children to such an education in global cultures will repay itself manifold throughout their lives!

-- Ian C. Mills, Webmaster

Degas and the Little Dancer As Valerie Wolf Deutsch and Laura Sutherland point out in their book, "Innocents Abroad -- Traveling With Kids In Europe" (Penguin Books), "children add a new dimension to travel. Sightseeing excursions (became) even more engaging when experienced through their discoveries and reactions. As a bonus, kids are the world's leading 'goodwill ambassadors', and have the uncanny ability of making friends for the whole family."

"Traveling en famille in a foreign country brings a family closer together. You'll develop a cache of shared memories to enjoy for years to come. For many families with both parents working, vacations have become the most important block of time to spend together, and exploring a foreign culture can make that time more precious."

"Classroom study simply cannot compare (to such a) tremendous educational opportunity, (as children) learn firsthand about other people by experiencing their food, language, history, and traditions."

Picasso and the Girl With a Ponytail In planning your itinerary, Deutsch and Sutherland offer the following tips:

  • Planning your trip is like packing: For smooth traveling with kids, jot down your preferred itinirary, then cut it in half.
  • Alternate big-city visits with beach, mountain, or country pursuits.
  • Intersperse 1- or 2-night stops with a week or two at a home base from where you can take side trips.
  • Always keep your child's perspective in mind, and plan your day's activities around your youngest child's abilities.
  • Favorite activities for many kids involve heights, depths, water, unusual forms of transportation, and animals. Try to incorporate as many of these into your itinirary as possible.
  • And, most importantly, always have a park or beach close by.

Encourage your children to to write to the French Government Tourist Office, indicating their specific interests such as hiking, skiing, boating, or animals, and they'll soon find their mailbox jammed full with colorful brochures that will engage them in the trip planning process.

Your biggest challenge in finding a place to stay with your children in France will be choosing from the myriad of accomodations available. Eloise In ParisYou can rock to sleep on a Parisian barge or rest your weary feet in a rural gîte (self-catering home in the countryside). Rental homes and apartments allow a family to truly experience the region they are visiting, by meeting your neighbors, shopping at local markets, and playing in the parks. Typically offering kitchens, living/dining areas, and sometimes even family libraries, such vacation rentals (by the week or month) are usually more economical than staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.

If you decide -- for mobility's sake, perhaps -- to choose hotels for your lodging, don't limit yourself to the four- and five-star variety. Instead, concentrate on facilities offering special family amenities, such as proximity to parks, kitchenettes, suites or connecting rooms, gardens or lawns, or supervised children's playrooms. In any case, you're likely to find the personable hospitality of a smaller, privately-owned facility quite charming, and the savings you'll enjoy will help to subsidize many more family adventures.

(For more information, including sections on castles, bed & breakfasts, hostels, camping facilities, and home exchanges, visit the chapter on Lodging Accomodations.)

Author: Ian C. Mills ©1999-2000 All Rights Reserved
Bibliography: Innocents Abroad -- Traveling With Kids In Europe, Valerie Wolf Deutsch & Laura Sutherland, 1991, Penguin Books USA Inc., New York (out-of-print).

Children & Family Links:

Recommended children's books
An extensive collection of children's books suitable for varying age ranges, including French folk tales and other fun stories, books that teach art appreciation, plus mystery, adventure and travel topics designed to stimulate young minds.

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Revisit the era of the "Lost Generation" in Hemingway's Paris.

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