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Madlenka :: armchair travel kid style

by Jean Van't Hul
May 1, 2011

Madlenka childrens picture book

Do you know Madlenka by Peter Sis?

This book appeals to the armchair traveler and the daydreamer in me. It’s also a current favorite by almost everyone in our house. Madlenka is a six year old New York girl with her first loose tooth. As she walks around the block to tell everyone about her tooth, we learn about the world through her interactions with her neighbors.


Her friends on the block include a French baker, an Indian news vendor, an Italian with an ice cream truck, a German who tells fairy tales, a Latin American greengrocer, a girl named after an Egyptian queen, and an Asian shop owner.


As the story progresses, we learn about the places her friends come from. The information is presented in an interesting and appealing way. It’s never pedantic, but rather leaves a lot to the imagination and to possible discussion. Windows are literally opened onto other worlds.


This book makes me want to gather up my family and take them around the world. There’s so much to see and learn and do! But since this isn’t an option for us right now, I’m thankful for books like this that share glimpses into other cultures and places.

How about you? Do you have any favorite children’s picture books about travel or other cultures? I’d love to explore some more with Maia…

P.S. Peter Sis has written some other Madlenka books. We’ve read Madlenka’s Dog and really like it. I’m hoping to read the others soon.

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