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Monday, September 29, 2014

Madame Martine, written and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Albert Whitman & Company, Thomas Allen & Son. 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Madame Martine and Max took the same walk every day. They wore the same coat. They sat in the same café. Then they went to Rue Cler and bought chicken on Monday, scallops on Tuesday, mushrooms on Wednesday, beef on Thursday, and fish on Friday."

As we grow older (and I know this from experience), we become a little more set in our ways. Madame Martine is quite content with her ordered life. She likes her comfortable clothes. She enjoys her favorite shops and familiar streets. Her daily walk takes her along the same streets. Even though the Eiffel Tower is within sight, she has no interest in visiting, deeming it a 'tourist thing.'

Finding a wet and bedraggled stray dog on one of those morning walks, she takes him home and 'Max' settles into Madame Martine's rigorous daily routine. Her ordered life changes dramatically one Saturday morning when Max is completely distracted by a squirrel, and gives chase without hesitation. The chase is an eye opener for Madame Martine! It isn't long until Max 's run takes him to the bottom of the tower steps,  and then up, up, up! It turns out that, like it or not, Madame Martine is going to learn all there is to know about the tower itself. That unexpected chase is all it takes for the two Ms to change their daily routines to include something brand new every successive Saturday morning.

I love the watercolor images created by Sarah Brannen. It is almost as if you are on the streets of Paris and visiting the Eiffel Tower for the first time. You will be charmed by the vista that meets their eyes as they reach the top. Children are sure to notice that the colors change as does Madame Martine's mood once Max is part of her life.  Lovely! 

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