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Madeline's Christmas Hardcover – October 1, 1985
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'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring because of a nasty, contagious illness--even the mouse is in bed with a miserable cold. Only brave Madeline is up and about ... competently running the household until she hears a knock at the door--a visitor whom she suspects might be Santa Claus. Instead it is a magical-rug merchant, with 12 red carpets that Madeline thinks would be perfect for the 12 girls and "For our ice-cold in the morning feet." She procures a few francs from Miss Clavel and pays the merchant. Without his rugs, however, he is very chilly, and he feels quite silly for having sold them. He returns to the old house (still covered in vines), where Madeline helps him thaw out, and he works a little Christmas magic--sending the girls on cross-country carpet rides to surprise their parents. Of course, Miss Clavel's bell breaks the spell and they're all back in time to celebrate the New Year. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Madeline joined the company of story immortals in 1939, when Bemelmans introduced the lion-hearted French child to the world. The original and five sequels excited critical raves, awards and an international readership. Now the sixth saga, reprinted from a McCall's magazine feature, will be offered as a book. On Christmas Eve, the old house in Paris, covered with vines, is also swarming with germs. Miss Clavel and her charges, except Madeline, are downed by the flu. So the littlest of the 12 girls nurses the ailing ones but a mysterious caller arrives with the promise of turning a sad Yuletide into an adventure. Madeline buys 12 rugs from the turbaned visitor and tucks them around the chilly invalids until she discovers that the covers are more than comforting. They are magic. They take Madeline and her friends on a wonderful flight, bringing back the joys of the season.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Madeline is taking care of everybody, cleaning and cooking, and when a rug merchant shows up with 12 rugs to sell, she buys them so everybody in the house will not have to put their feet on the cold floor when they get out of bed. Without his rugs the merchant gets frozen and Madeline has to take care of him. By this point you are wondering why this is a Christmas story as opposed one where it is just snowy and cold, but it seems the merchant is also a magician and you know what that makes those rugs.
This is a minor Madeline story and while we finally get to see Madeline's parents, it does make you wonder why the twelve little girls are still at the house all covered with vines at Christmas time. But then it was never clear if Miss Clavel was running a boarding school or an orphanage or what, and I am afraid "Madeline's Christmas" only confuses things (I did a bit of research and discovered Bemelmans was working on the stories his mother told him about life in a convent school in Altotting). So this effort is a trifle all things considered and you will not really find anything inside the book as you find on the cover, with the Eiffel Tower done up like a Christmas tree.