Bon Jour!

Welcome to the official Madeline web site. On this page you will learn about the story of Madeline, including Madeline trivia hardly anyone else knows!

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…
They left the house, at half past nine…
The smallest one was Madeline."

So begins Ludwig Bemelmans's beloved children's story, Madeline.

Madeline was created in the late 1930’s by writer and artist, Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans wrote six Madeline books before he died in 1962. The original Madeline was named a Caldecott Honor Book, and his second Madeline book, Madeline’s Rescue, received the Caldecott Gold Medal in 1954.

Although the Madeline stories are appealing, and the simple artwork is intriguing, what makes the Madeline stories stand out is the main character, Madeline!

Madeline is unlike any other children's story book character. To begin, she is a girl. Not an ordinary girl. Madeline is fearless, strong willed, smart and daring. But she is always polite and respectful. Madeline is a good role model, and she has exciting adventures.

Madeline is the smallest of the 12 little girls in two straight lines. But she was also the bravest. All the girls wear the same yellow hats and identical coats. They all look alike except for their hair. But Madeline stands out because she is fearless. She even tells the tiger the zoo, "Pooh-pooh.

Madeline gives young girls a reason to explore who they are as individuals. She gives girls the courage to speak their mind and shows them there is nothing wrong with being smart and strong.

The original Madeline story grew out of stories Ludwig Bemelmans' mother had told him about life in a convent school, and on his own personal observations of a little girl in the hospital in Saint-Sauveur.

The first words "In an old house in Paris / that was covered with vines," were written in New York on the back of a menu in Pete's Tavern.

The last Madeline book, Madeline in America,  was an uncompleted work of Bemelmans which was completed by Bemelmans’ grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano.

Over the years Madeline has been translated into too many languages to mention. The books are available in many sizes and styles. Over ten million Madeline books have been sold around the world.

The stories are also available as spoken books. All of the titles have been made into animated videos, and the Madeline full length movie is a composite of the Madeline stories.

Many people think Madeline is an orphan, but she is not. In the original story, when Madeline is visited in the hospital by Miss Clavel and the girls, the first things they see are "...the toys and candy and the dollhouse from Papa."

And in the story, Madeline's Christmas, Madeline is shown celebrating with her parents at home!

Although the collection of Madeline dolls found in stores include Madeline's friends such as Nicole and Danielle, the girls in the Madeline books were never given names by Bemelmans.

The Bemelmans bar in the Carlyle Hotel in New York is named after Ludwig Bemelmans because of a mural he created for the walls of the bar. The mural is the only surviving Bemelmans commission open to the public. And if you look closely at the mural, you will see Madeline and her classmates in the mural.

Madeline dolls come in many shapes and sizes. Many older Madeline dolls are now collector items. With the exception of the 1998, twenty inch Winter Madeline rag doll, all Madeline dolls have her famous appendix scar on her belly.

There are more than fifty animated episodes of Madeline, but only a portion of them are available on video cassette or DVD.

Madeline has a last name. It is Fogg!