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Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans

Madeline in London

by Ludwig Bemelmans

Series: Madeline (5)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Madeline and her friends are despondent that their friend, Pepito, has to travel to London when his father is reassigned. Not long after he is gone, though, the ambassador invites the whole school to come visit his family in London. His Pepito is eating little and thinning to nothing, all because he misses his friends. Miss Clavel wastes no time in ushering the girls unto a plane and over the channel, where they spend a lovely vacation time in the ambassador's house. They realize they forgot to bring Pepito a gift, however, and remember the boy said he always wanted a horse. Though buying a new horse is far too expensive, they find a place that gives away horses that are retired from duty.

Pepito is delighted with his gift, and he and Madeline hop on first. Of course, right at that moment a trumpet blares its call and the horse gallops off in fear. Miss Clavel and the other girls spend a portion of the book searching for their lost charges, giving the author a chance to illustrate famous scenes from London, in place of the expected Paris settings from other books. They eventually find the trio standing guard at the horse's previous place of employment. The adventure is still not over! That night, the poor hungry horse who was not fed, devours all the plants in the ambassador's garden. His wife is gracious in forgiveness, but declares the horse can't possibly stay. This prompts Miss Clavel to bring the horse back to France with them, where the horse becomes installed in the school house along with the girls.

Of the four Madeline books we recently received, this is my least favorite. The story was not very interesting, and not at all credible. Miss Clavel can just bring a horse into the boarding school, when a dog was out of the question? No one bothered to feed the poor animal after its crazy race through London? What's to stop Pepito from getting sick all over again once the girls leave? The plot is riddled with inconsistencies and unanswered questions, and the adventure feels like a contrived situation solely meant to get the girls in London. As much as I like the quirky humor that pops up in the Madeline series, the whole premise of riding a horse through London was less quirky and more absurd. Also, the writing was lackluster. The forced rhyme necessary to sustain couplets can be done well, and it can be artificial and awful. While earlier books occasionally slipped into the bad territory, they generally maintained a good whimsical flow. The language in this story is certainly contorted to fit the rhyme scheme. Redeeming qualities are few, but prevent me from completely disliking the book. The opening sequence is cute and clever, and affection for the characters from earlier stories remains attached to them in this outing, as well. The illustrations continue to be distinct and attractive. Nonetheless, I will likely choose other books from the Madeline series to read to my daughters. ( )
  nmhale | May 12, 2014 |
This is another excellent book in the Madeline series. The twelve little girls in two straight lines and Miss Clavel travel to London to visit Pepito, the Spanish ambassador's son, because he is feeling lonely since his family moved from Paris. I like this book because there are more illustrations with color in them, as opposed to some of Bemelmans' earlier Madeline books where most of the illustrations are yellow, black, and white. I think it adds more character to the story, and makes the British landmarks he drew much more interesting. I continue to enjoy the poetry aspect of his books, which add a great rhythm to the story. The part of the book that I found that this is best demonstrated is after they all return home: "Visiting is fun and gay-- / Let's celebrate a lovely day. / Everyone had been well fed, / Everyone was in his bed." The big idea of this story is never pass up on a chance to explore new things, which is demonstrated through Madeline and Pepito joining the parade on his new horse and Miss Clavel and the other eleven girls wandering through London looking for them, though they spend a lot of their time sightseeing. ( )
  lstec2 | Mar 7, 2014 |
Madeline and friends go to London on a trip, and meet up with Pepito for his birthday. His gift was a horse. Of course, the horse is a nuisance, and eats the gardener's plants. The horse nearly died from eating green apples and roses, but a trip to the vet made all well again. The horse was brought back to Paris, and kept in the school with the girls.

This story seems random and odd at times. The plot jumps around a bit, and it could be difficult to explain or understand. Overall, another great Madeline. ( )
  rrossi1 | Oct 22, 2013 |
Madeline and her classmates, together with their teacher Miss Clavel, leave their vine-covered Parisian boarding school and journey to London, where they meet up once again with Pepito, the Spanish Ambassador's son who was first introduced in Madeline and the Bad Hat. Hoping to cheer him up, they have come to celebrate Pepito's birthday, pooling their money in order to buy him a horse. When this new equine companion takes off with Pepito and Madeline astride, Miss Clavell and the girls set out to find them, and all enjoy a tour of London. But can the horse, who subsequently eats most of the garden, be kept? If Madeline & Co. have anything to say about it, he can!

Originally published in 1961, this fourth Madeline book from Austrian-American children's author and artist Ludwig Bemelmans was not an improvement on its predecessors, which I found moderately interesting, but not particularly appealing. I continue to be mostly indifferent, both to Bemelmans' artwork - I don't hate it, but I can't say I enjoy it either - and to his stories, which, despite some promising themes - the girls' adopt a dog in Madeline's Rescue!; Pepito becomes a vegetarian, in Madeline and the Bad Hat! - never seem to deliver. I also continue to find the text itself in these books rather clunky and awkward. So many people love this character and her adventures, that I can't help but wonder whether one's age when first encountering her is the deciding factor... perhaps I just missed my window of opportunity? ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 30, 2013 |
Summary: Madeline and her classmates go to London to meet up with Pepito and the Ambassador, while they are there they adopt a horse who gets sick and must be rescued, they end up keeping as a part of the family.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Media: Watercolor
  mlucas09 | Nov 19, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014056649X, Paperback)

What on earth could make Miss Clavel, Madeline, and her 11 nameless classmates leave belle Paris for the tea-and-crumpeted, sometimes trumpeted city of London? A mission to cheer up the lonely, thin, increasingly despondent Pepito, son of the Spanish ambassador, who had to move away from his house next door to Madeline's in Paris. In their efforts to cheer him up, and for a birthday surprise, Miss Clavel and the girls buy him a retired horse. All is fine until the horse gallops off at the sound of the trumpet to take his place at the head of the queen's Life Guards (his occupation before retiring). As readers whoosh through busy London scenes, we forget the horse has had nothing to eat all day. Upon his return to Pepito's home, he eats everything in sight: "The gardener dropped his garden hose. / There wasn't a daisy or a rose. / 'All my work and all my care / For nought! Oh, this is hard to bear.'" Meanwhile, as the horse is passed out from exhaustion and overeating, Pepito's mother says he has to go. And so Madeline and the others take the horse home with them to Paris, where "They brushed his teeth and gave him bread, / And covered him up / and put him to bed." Ludwig Bemelmans charms us again with the uniquely skewed logic and matter-of-fact madness of childhood that young readers will adore. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:56 -0400)

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Madeline and Miss Clavel's 11 other charges visit the Spanish ambassador's son in London, bringing him a horse as a gift. Adventures take place because of the gift.

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