In our new picture book travels series with St. Paul’s Plus Preschool, we’ll be sharing fun ways to integrate cultural exploration through your preschool reading adventures at home! Each article will include a story to read together, craft idea, fun country facts, and a suggesting for taking your exploration out of the house.

This month, we’re exploring the country of France and concepts of architecture through one of literature’s favorite precocious characters — Madeline!

Picture Book Travels: Madeline - (cool) progeny

The Book: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Madeline is one of those classic children’s literature characters that just seems to endure, even after 70 years! Nothing frightens her —not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. 

“I like that it talks about the bravery of the girl and that throughout the book they show different famous architectures around Paris,” said Karen Harding, World Cultures Teacher at St. Paul’s Plus.

Picture Book Travels: Madeline - (cool) progeny

The Activity: Build the Eiffel Tower with Toothpicks and Marshmallows


Mini Marshmallows
Book Illustrations


Show your child the images of the Eiffel Tower (it’s right on the front cover of the book!). Talk about the shapes they see and how the lines come together to form shapes. Then ask them to use the toothpicks and marshmallows to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Picture Book Travels: Madeline - (cool) progeny

Fun Facts About France

  • People speak French in France.
  • The capital of France is Paris. home to the Eiffel Tower.  The tower is one of the most iconic monuments in the world and lights up at night.
  • The French flag is blue, white, and red. The French refer to the flag as ‘Tricolore’ (french for ‘three colours’).
  • Eggs are only brown in France.
  • Merci means “thank you” in French.
  • Tour de France is a famous bicycle race that takes place in France every year.

Extend the Learning

Want to explore cuisine française with your tot? Take him or her out for lunch at Petit Louis in Roland Park (try the Shrimp & Zucchini Beignets or quiche) or to Bonjour Bakery (try the croissants or macarons) in Lake Falls. Have a reluctant eater? Tell them you’re taking them on a foodie adventure and make a game out of it.

About Our Sponsor: St. Paul’s Plus

St. Paul’s Plus has been serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers for over 25 years and recognizes that children learn by doing. At the heart of the program is the knowledge that children need to feel safe and loved in order to reach out to the world around them. By providing a positive, loving environment, their teachers have formed foundations for life-long learning since our opening in 1989. St. Paul’s Plus promotes the development of the whole child in the areas of social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth, and the staff strives to create a positive and nurturing environment where children explore and learn. MORE

Photos by Laura Black