A throwback to a more civilized time -- when young people learned French just to know it, and freedom fries went by another name -- Madeline started out as a series of books by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans considered himself primarily an illustrator: his work graced the cover of The New Yorker and countless other magazines. (He was also an essayist, novelist and humorist.) But in 1934 a publisher asked him to try his hand at a children's book, and not long after, the mischievous Madeline was born. She was modeled on Bemelmans' daughter Barbara, and her prim capers in Paris captivated little girls around the world. In recent years, a series of videos have revived the character for a new generation of fans.