Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We heart ......Madlenka

Have you met Madlenka?

As soon as you pick up this gorgeous hardcover you are introduced to this sweet little girl through a die-cut window in the jacket. Instantly, you are enveloped in her world - New York City; 'In the universe, on a planet, on a continent, in a country, in a city, on a block, in a house, in a window, in the rain, a little girl named Madlenka finds out her tooth wiggles.'

Madlenka knows everyone in her large and very multicultural neighbourhood on the south part of Manhattan Island and when she discovers a loose tooth she wants to tell everyone! As she skips through the city streets we also get to know her neighbours: the French baker, the Indian newsagent, the Italian ice-cream man, the Latin American grocer, a retired opera singer from Germany, an African American school friend, and the Asian shopkeeper.

Author Peter Sis creates the most amazingly rich and intricate blue-grey washed New York streetscapes in this story but the real magic comes from the use of die-cut windows through which Madlenka catches glimpses of her neighbours' lives in their former countries. Bright, light, cheerful and captivating, Madlenka dances through the illustrations always in colour, twirling her yellow umbrella as she goes.

Sis uses the text in his story to wind around the illustrations mirroring Madlenka's windy journey through the street blocks. The visual and textural beauty of the design of this picture book will give adults as much joy as the story gives children.

Borrowing from his real life tale of moving to the US from Czechoslovakia, in Madlenka Peter Sis has created an endearing character and a really beautiful tale of the diverseness of community and what we can learn from those living in our neighbourhoods.

You can see some animated content and more from Madlenka here or grab your very own copy online from We Heart Books or at Magnolia Square in Sydney.