Ludwig Bemelmans’ Grandson Writes MADELINE AT THE WHITE HOUSE

Madeline at the White House

Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline books were favorites of mine when I was a little girl and I still have tattered copies of a few of them, so when Publisher’s Weekly reported that Penguin Group Publishing released the new MADELINE AT THE WHITE HOUSE, I was immediately intrigued.

In Madeline at the White House, written by Ludwig Bemelmans’ grandson John Bemelmans Marciano, the First Lady is concerned that her daughter Candle is lonely, so she brings Madeline and her eleven friends to the White House, where they take a late night magic-carpet tour of Washington DC, sleep in the Lincoln bedroom, and roll Easter eggs on the South Lawn–all in two straight lines, I’m sure.

Marciano got the idea for Madeline at the White House from notes his grandfather had written about two book projects. The first, Madeline and the Magician, re-introduced readers to the magician from Madeline’s Christmas and the second was one Bemelmans had been working on at the time of his death in 1962. A friend of Jacqueline Kennedy, he had been exchanging letters with the First lady about collaborating on a book where Madeline goes to the White House. Marciano explained,

“The thought was that she would write the text, and the book would be titled ‘Madeline and Caroline’, or perhaps ‘Madeline at the White House,’ but it never came to fruition.”

While Marciano wanted to do something with these two unfinished projects, it wasn’t until his daughter Galatea was born that he figured out how to do it. He said,

“It took me 12 years to come up with the right story, and somehow it all came together just about the time she was born. I became focused on the idea of adding a new little girl to the story.”

Are there any other Madeline fans out there? Do you think this is a good way to continue the tradition or should authors’ work be left alone? Also, if you’ve already read Madeline at the White House, I’d love to know what you thought.

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