Author: Peter Sis
Illustrator: Peter Sis
Publishers and Year: South China Printing Company, 1988
Number of pages: 41
Madlenka is the story of a young girl who goes on adventures to tell the people on her street block about her loose tooth. Each new person she encounters introduces the reader to a new culture. Eventually Madlenka comes home declaring that she has been out traveling the world.
This book is a window for the reader into a variety of different cultures. On each page Madlenka meets a new friend who is from a different part of the world. They greet her in their native language and we are provided with information about that person, on the other page, that highlights important aspects of their culture. For example, when she visits her friend Eduardo, from South America, the readers learn about the landscape of his native lands. Likewise when Madlenka meets her Mrs. Kham, her friend from China, the readers learn about the Great Wall of China, Buddhism, Silk, and different ethnic foods. Although each page is in no way a complete representation of any culture, it gives the reader an insight into a culture different than their own.
Although the text is great in that it provides culturally relevant information and exposure to various languages, the images add just as much, if not more, to the story. We are able to see drawings that further represent each culture as she meets each friend. In addition to this, the book is set up so that there is a square (sometimes circular) hole in each page. These are meant to represent windows in the shops. Through these windows the reader is able to see natural landscapes that represent the various parts of the world. As you turn the page, these windows strategically place Madlenka right into the world the reader is learning about. In addition to this, after the “window” has been turned, the full-page illustration can be seen revealing an even more in-depth drawing that depicts various parts of each culture. Overall, the illustrations in this book give a rich visual understanding of each culture represented and allows the reader to experience a piece of each culture. This models appreciation for different cultures and gets the readers excited to learn more.