Title: Madeline and the Bad Hat
Author: Ludwig Bemelmans
Genre: France / Friendship / Manners
Year Published: 1956
Year Read: 1993
Series: Madeline #3
Publisher: The Viking Press
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Some Mild Violence and Mischievous Behavior)
“Madeline and the Bad Hat” is another book created by Ludwig Bemelmans’ famous “Madeline” collection (and was also transformed into an episode for the “Madeline” cartoon series) that details Madeline’s adventures in France. This time, Madeline meets up with Pepito, the Bad Hat, who causes trouble for Madeline and the other girls. This book might be the darkest of all the “Madeline” books, but its exciting storyline and cute illustrations make up for that.
Ludwig Bemelmans does an excellent job on both illustrations and writing Madeline’s newest adventure. Ludwig Bemelmans writes the story in a rhyming text, the most memorable lines being:
“And lo and behold, the former Barbarian,
turned into a vegetarian.”
Ludwig Bemelmans chooses his words carefully to make sure that the story moves along smoothly without making the rhyming text sound like nonsense. Ludwig Bemelmans’ illustrations are also highlighted in this book as he draws the characters in simplistic yet colorful images. I especially like the way that he makes some of the images be shown in yellow and white coloring and some images where he uses all types of colors such as the image where he shows the landscape of Paris.
Parents should know that there are some violent and sad scenes in this book. Children might see the scenes where Pepito cuts off the chickens’ heads and eats them (even though we do not see the chickens’ heads being cut off but we do see a guillotine and chickens being dragged by their necks towards the guillotine) and the scene where he is attacked by dogs (this is more graphic as we see dogs jumping on top of Pepito) as both sad and violent. Parents who do not want their children to be exposed to this type of violence might want to skip these pages to avoid any discomfort from the children.
“Madeline and the Bad Hat” is one of the most deep and darkest of all the “Madeline” books, but is also a cute story about the consequences of being bad and how one can redeem his or herself if they have done horrible things to other people such as Pepito trying to make things right after his bad behavior. I would strongly recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the smaller children being a bit worried about the violent and sad scenes displayed in this book.
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