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Produced by Ronald A. Weinberg; directed by Stephan Martiniere

Cinar Films/France Animation, 1991. VHS cassette, 24:00 min., $350.00.


Produced by Ronald A. Weinberg; directed by Stephan Martiniere

Films/France Animation, 1990. VHS cassette, 24:00 min., $350.00.
Distributed by T.H.A. Media Distribu­tors Ltd., 39 Baywood Rd., Rexdale, Ont. M9V 3Y8 or 1100 Homer St., Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X6

Pre-school to Grade 3/Ages 3 to 8
Reviewed by Carol Carver.

Volume 19 Number 5
1991 October

Fast on the heels of the highly successful Madeline video come two follow-up adventures featuring the plucky red-haired heroine. "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines," begins the familiar refrain introducing both Madeline and the Bad Hat and Madeline's Christmas, based on the books by Ludwig Bemelmans.

The "bad hat" in Madeline and the Bad Hat is Pepito, the son of the Spanish ambassador, who has moved next door to Miss Clavel and her twelve charges. Miss Clavel is fooled by Pepito's polite behaviour, but Madeline immediately spots his mischievousness as he teases the girls and terrorizes neighbourhood wildlife. Pepito gets his come-uppance when he attempts to sacrifice a cat to a pack of dogs; he is instead attacked by the dogs when the cat leaps on his head. Rescued by Miss Clavel and Madeline, Pepito is reformed but gets carried away setting zoo animals free until Madeline tells him he is no longer a "bad hat."

Unlike Bad Hat, the plot in Madeline's Christmas differs greatly from the book; instead of a magician with twelve flying carpets, a key character is the kindly Madame Marie. She helps out when Madeline has become exhausted tending Miss Clavel and the other students who are suffering from colds just as the girls are about to go home on Christmas Eve. Madame Marie cooks a meal that makes everyone well. She also encourages the girls to wish for their parents to appear despite a howling snow storm. The families do arrive, but Madame Marie has disap­peared — transformed into the angel atop the tree.

In both videos, Bemelman's rhyming couplets have been augmented with new material that clarifies the story line, while Christopher Plummer’s soothing voice adds richness. The full animation is colourful and lively, and the original songs and music extend the text; the theme song, "I'm Madeline," is particu­larly catchy. Each video contains three 15-second blank spots, possibly for discussion, that are highly distracting — the only flaw in these otherwise well executed productions.

Bad Hat is useful for themes of friendship or care of animals and Christmas is appropriate for that season, while both can be used to teach simple French phrases and to promote Bemelmans' books.


Carol Carver, Dieppe School, Winnipeg, Man.
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