Amelia Bedelia is a housekeeper who takes her instructions quite literally. Reading the list of chores that her employer has left her, Amelia begins with "Dust the furniture." How odd, Amelia thinks to herself. "At my house we undust the furniture." Nonetheless, she dutifully locates the "Dusting Powder" in the bathroom, and proceeds to sprinkle it all over the living-room furniture and floor. Next she is asked to "Draw the drapes when the sun comes in." So of course, Amelia sits down with a sketchpad and gives it her best shot. Children love reading about the antics of silly Amelia Bedelia for myriad reasons. It's an early reader book, so children in primary grades can take satisfaction in reading the book on their own. But, even more thrilling, children who are 6 and older can successfully interpret the figurative meaning behind most adult idioms. Being told to "keep an eye on the cat," for example, might compel some preschoolers to stick their eyeballs on a cat's face, eliciting peals of laughter from know-it-all grownups. But older children know better, and they love the fact that they know better. Young readers will find this bumblingly charming, eager-to-please housekeeper as irresistible as Amelia Bedelia's employers do. (Ages 6 and older) --Gail Hudson
"A perfect blend of text and pictures spiced with humor." -- -- K.
The late Peggy Parish, well known for her stories about Amelia Bedelia, wrote many popular books for children, including Dinosaur Time, illustrated by Arnold Lobel.
"I hate reading but your books are changing my opinion." This letter, from a young Peggy Parish fan, comes as no surprise to the teachers and librarians who have put her books in the hands of children over the years. Ms. Parish wrote nearly three dozen children's books-many of which include her most famous character, the literal-minded maid named Amelia Bedelia.
Peggy Parish knew what children like to read. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in English, she taught school in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and, for over 15 years, at the well-known, progressive Dalton School in New York City. It was at Dalton that she began to find ways to release her creative ideas and energy, Though she never took a writing course, "writing stories for children came naturally." Her first book, published in 1961, was followed with Let's Be Indians and in 1963 with her unforgettable Amelia Bedelia.
Always involved with education in some way, Peggy Parish did television pieces on preschool education and children's books, wrote children's-book review columns, and led numerous in-service training workshops for teachers. In discussing her ideas about education, she said, "Children's rights are taken away from them when they enter school. What I try to show teachers is that all the skills needed to read can be taught outside of textbooks. Today's children are not going to read what they are not interested in. And if a positive attitude toward reading is not developed during the first three years of school, it is virtually impossible to develop it later."
After living in New York for many years, Peggy Parish returned to her native South Carolina. She died in November, 1988. But Ameila Bedelia did not die. Peggy Parish's nephew, Herman Parish, has written Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia and Bravo, Amelia Bedelia!, published by Greenwillow Books in 1995 and 1997 respectively.
Amelia Bedelia, the housekeeper with a literal mind, merrily upsets the household when she "dresses" the chicken and "trims" the steak with ribbons and lace.