Written By: Peter Sis

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take time to look over the cover and illustrations before beginning your read-through. Be sure to read the title, and give the name(s) of the author and illustrator. Explain what it means to be an author and an illustrator by saying, “Peter Sis is the author and illustrator of Madlenka. That means that he wrote the story and drew all of the pictures in the book. Let’s look at the pictures before we start reading.”Ask questions like these to encourage your child to make initial observations and predictions:

What do you notice on the front cover?

What do you think will happen in this story?

Where do you think Madlenka lives? What do you notice about her friends?

{Flip to a certain page} What do you think is happening in this picture?

As You Read

Vocabulary Building:

All of Madlenka’s friends come from different places around the world and they each greet her in their own language, providing a great opportunity to teach your child how to say hello in several different languages. Each time Madlenka is greeted by one of her friends, ask your child to repeat the greeting. For example, when Mr. Gaston says, “Bonjour, Madeleine” tell your child, “‘Bonjour’ is how you say hello in France. Can you say ‘Bonjour’?” For added fun, incorporate these new greetings into your daily life like when picking your child up from school or daycare, or when you see him/her in the morning. Some more examples of new greetings in Madlenka include:




Making Connections:

Engage your child by allowing him/her to make a connection between the story and his/her own experiences. For example, when Madlenka sees her Italian friend and she explores all of the wonderful things about Italy, say, “What kinds of foods do you see in this picture? Do you like pizza? What is your favorite kind of pizza? If we could visit Italy, which of these things would you like to see in real life?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

To gauge your child’s comprehension of the story and it’s different characters, ask questions like:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

What was Madlenka so excited to tell her friends?

Can you name a few places that Madlenka’s friends are from? What were some ways that her friends said hello to her?

What did Madlenka tell her parents when they asked her why she was so late? Is it true? How so?

You can also have a discussion about where your family is from and how you say hello in that country or region. For example, start the conversation by saying, “Our family is from _______. There are lots of interesting things about _______ like… You can say hello in _______ by saying….” This will get your child thinking about his/her own background and how there are many different places around the world that are each special in their own way.

Activity: “Me On The Map”

Adapted from Counting Coconuts

Supplies:  Different colored construction paper, markers or colored pencils, scissors, glue, printer, sharpies, foam paper, stickers, picture of your child, one brad

Help your child learn some basic geography and think about where s/he lives by creating this wonderful visual guide that breaks your location down into planet, continent, country, state, and street!

  1. Start with the planet Earth. Print a picture like this one and let your child color it in. Glue this picture on a piece of construction paper. Cut around the picture leaving a border and decorate the border as you wish.
  2. Next, search on the internet for an outline of the continent that you are from and print it out. Cut the image out and trace it onto the foam paper. Cut the traced picture out, glue it to another piece of construction paper and then cut the construction paper into a circle slightly smaller than the previous one.
  3. Print out a picture of your country and some pictures that represent where you are from. For example, if you are from the United States, you could print out a picture of the White House, the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, etc. Choose another sheet of construction paper and cut a slightly smaller circle to glue the images onto.
  4. Find pictures of your state, city, or region. Print, cut, and glue them to another circular sheet of construction paper, smaller than the last.
  5. Let your child draw a picture of your street directly onto another sheet of construction paper and help him/her write your street name below the picture.
  6. Lastly, print or draw a picture of your home, as well as a picture of your child. Glue them onto another sheet of construction paper.

If you’d like to take the activity one step further, type and print out 5 facts about each place. Cut them out and glue them to the back of each corresponding circle.