Kid Books: ‘Amelia Bedelia’ Turns 50–and She’s as Fun as Ever

Can you believe it? Amelia Bedelia turns 50 this year. But honestly, she looks exactly the same, as you can see at the left. HarperCollins just released a special edition of the original book by the late Peggy Parish complete with the simply adorable illustrations by the great Fritz Siebel.

I wondered if my kids, ages 5, 7 and 7 (twins), would like Amelia Bedelia, or even get her. So we read her antics last night. I had a blast reliving this childhood favorite that my mother, a first grade teacher, often read to me.

Just a refresher: Amelia Bedelia shows up at Mr. and Mrs. Rogers’ house in her maid uniform, eager to get started on her first day of work. The Rogers’ give her a list of tasks, and then they drive away in their green car. First thing, Amelia Bedelia makes a lemon meringue pie as a sweet surprise. Then she consults her list.

“Change the towels in the green bathroom,” she reads. So, of course, she gets out her scissors and starts cutting them up wondering why Mrs. Rogers would want to change them. My children giggled. “That’s not how you change towels!” my 5-year-old son said. (He added, “That’s not respectable,” but I’m not sure if he knows what that meant.)

We went on to find out that Amelia Bedelia dusted the furniture by putting something like baby powder all over it, and she “dressed” the chicken in nice green boy clothes. “You’re not supposed to do it like that!” my 7-year-old said. “It’s a good thing Amelia Bedelia baked that pie,” she added. Yes! I was elated that the kids understood Amelia Bedelia‘s literal-mindedness, and, even better, they found it just as funny as I did.

“I think Amelia Bedelia is a really good girl, and she’s very nice,” my daughter said. “She’s kind of silly, though!”

This special anniversary edition includes gems of Amelia Bedelia history in the back, including information about Peggy Parish’s inspiration: her third grade students. I liked the timeline on the last page that shows how Amelia Bedelia has been drawn from 1963 to 2013.

Good news: There are new Amelia Bedelias, too. The author’s nephew has been writing the books since Parish died in 1988. This month, Herman Parish released the first chapter books about Amelia Bedelia when she was a child. In Amelia Bedelia Means Business, her ever-patient parents tell her that a new bicycle will cost “an arm and a leg.” Amelia Bedelia decides she doesn’t want to give up her limbs for a new set of wheels, and more chaos ensues. Another similar title Amelia Bedelia Unleased was also released. These books are geared to ages 6 through 10.

If you haven’t checked Amelia Bedelia out in a while, she’s a real treat. Not a piece of candy! I mean she’s just as delightful and fun as ever.

 

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  1. by Sherry

    On February 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I have a soft spot for Amelia Bedelia — I learned English and learned to read through these books!