Book details

Macmillan Children's Book



Author: Peter Sís; Illustrated by the author




About This Book

For Madlenka, a trip around her city block is like a trip around the world.

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Book Details

A trip around a city block is like a trip around the world!

Peeking out through a die-cut window on the jacket, Madlenka invites the reader to enter her world. And what a world it is! On the surface, it looks like an ordinary city block, but as we meet Madlenka's neighbors -- the French baker, the Indian news vendor, the Italian ice-cream man, the Latin American grocer, a retired opera singer from Germany, an African American school friend, and the Asian shopkeeper -- and look through die-cut windows to the images and memories they have carried from old country to new, we can see that Madlenka's block is as richly varied as its inhabitants. And why is Madlenka going around the block, jumping for joy? Her tooth is loose, and she wants everyone to know!

Madlenka is a 2000 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year. This title has Common Core connections.

Imprint Publisher

Square Fish



Reading Guide

In The News

“For Madlenka, who has just discovered that she has a loose tooth, the block is a world unto itself, a familiar, self-contained place and also a realm of infinite newness and variety, always reassuringly the same and yet constantly changing its shape, color and texture. Her adventure is perfectly ordinary and completely magical, like the wonderful, scary experience of losing a tooth. . . . The book's design is ingenious, a kind of two-dimensional hypertext of maps and windows that allows you to flip from the cartography of real places to a geography of pure imagination. . . . A book to be read slowly and repeatedly.” —The New York Times Book Review

“As he did with Tibet Through the Red Box, Sís takes readers to exotic lands, yet continues to bring them back to the comfort of what they know. . . . When Madlenka returns home and tells her parents that she ‘went all around the world,' readers will feel that they, too, have been armchair travelers, delivered safely home in Sís's capable hands.” —Publishers Weekly

“Visually stunning . . . The real magic comes in the cleverly cut-away windows in each storefront through which children glimpse complex, global dreamscapes. Madlenka journeys through these mystical places, too, and it is these surreal, wordless stories-within-the-story that will excite a wide range of children, launching them in their own imagined departures.” —Booklist, Boxed Review

“[Sís] incorporates simple and telling details--real and imaginary--into his rich and sophisticated art. Illustrations are intricate, providing plenty to see on every turn of the page. Several ingenious cut-outs provide literal peeks into this international city.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“This brief story captures all of Sís's most distinguished qualities of dreamlike mystery while remaining accessible to younger children. The book is meticulously designed . . . The exquisite double-page spreads invite close inspection . . . Undeniably clever, well-intentioned, and beautiful.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In Sís's hands, this is a journey filled with mystical creatures and magical symbols, as the child is greeted by an international panoply of merchants and neighbors. . . . The stark white background around the child contrasts effectively with the dark ink-and-watercolor scenes once the threshold has been crossed. Groups will be captivated by the concept and the drama provided by the die-cuts and the fantastic settings. Individuals will pore over the many details, delighting in the emergence of forms and meaning provided by close inspection. An odyssey made all the more wondrous by pairing a big moment in a small child's life with the happenings in the cosmos.” —School Library Journal

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