12.12.12, a memorable day. And our 12th book is a lovely classic, Madeline’s Christmas, created by Ludwig Bemelmans in 1956.
As with all the Madeline books, this Christmas edition is delightful. All the occupants of the school are ill, except for the littlest which was Madeline. As she nursed the sick and cared for the house, a carpet seller—who was also a magician—appears and sells Madeline 12 red rugs to warm the girls’ feet in the cold mornings.
As he leaves however, the cold overtakes him and he goes back to dear little nurse, Madeline.
His token of thanks is extraordinary, as should be expected from a magician. The girls have a merry Christmas, with their families, and are back to the house in no time for a happy New Year!
I was not as familiar with this book as I was with some of the other Madeline stories growing up. Opening with a combination of the traditional Madeline intro and borrowed lines from the famous “Night Before Christmas” poem, Bemelmas’ rhymes are intriguing from the start. This Christmas story is lovely in that it speaks of the spirit of Christmas, but is entirely different in its holiday events. I don’t know of any other story with a carpet seller magician whom is supposed to be a sort of Santa-like character, but not really. Bemelmans is so fun in his originality! And his simplicity. The Madeline stories are great reads. There are some pages with great text and some with only a couple words, as that is often all you need when your pictures tell so much more! In every book, Madeline is a spunky, yet always polite Parisian little girl, and in this Christmas edition she is helpful and wise beyond her small years.
Ludwig Bemelmans never intended to be an author but thankfully a children’s book editor suggested he try it. Oh how sad it would be to have no Madeline stories! Bemelmans was married to a woman named Madeline and they had a daughter, Barbara, whom the stories are actually based upon. There are 7 Madeline books, although Bemelmans only published 6 and the 7th was discovered and published after his death. He also wrote and illustrated a few other books and even some adult novels too.
Check out this unique Christmas tale and be swept away by Bemelmans’ rhymes, the carpet seller, and sweet little Madeline!
Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books.