Paris, Texas

Once upon a recent time, a plucky girl named Madeline traveled to the Lone Star State, bringing along her eleven mates. They saw all the sights, up hill and down dale, had thrilling adventures—and thereby hangs this tale.

Madeline in America and Other Holiday Tales Arthur A. Levine Books; 1st ed edition (October 1, 1999)

THE FIRST TIME I LOOKED AT A MADELINE BOOK, I was six years old and living in Switzerland with my family. I know that Ludwig Bemelmans’ whimsical drawings of girls in a French boarding school lodged deeply in my imagination because, on a trip to Paris around that time, I remember seeing a group of young girls in blue uniforms walking down a narrow street and feeling that the book had come alive for me. I wanted to jump into the middle of those schoolgirls and become Madeline’s best friend. To this day, Bemelmans’ smudgy backdrops of mansard rooftops, the Eiffel Tower, and the old house covered with vines evoke Paris for me as intensely as the smell of Gauloises or roasting chestnuts.

Having read all the Madeline books when I was young, I thought I knew everything there was to know about her: that she was rescued from the Seine by a dog named Genevieve, that the Spanish ambassador lived next door for a while, that she once traveled to London. Then several weeks ago I discovered that the plucky redhead had some secrets. Without my knowing it, she had somehow sneaked over to Texas, her only trip to the United States, and this month a new

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