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Peggy Parish

I totally dropped the ball on Saturday--VBS preparation was all-consuming and my house is in a perpetual state of chaos...so here's a belated review of an oldie but a goodie: Peggy Parish, you might know her as the author of the Amelia Bedelia books and I read her when I was a kid. Our library nazi was surprised when I checked out a whole bunch of Amelia books. She said no one ever checks them out--and what a shame that is! These would be perfect for their story hour.

Parish was an elementary teacher for many years and wrote over fifty books for children, including mysteries and craft books. Though she died in 1988, her nephew, Herman Parish, has continued to write books about our favorite housemaid.

I found a quick biography of Parish and her endearing character at http://comsewogue.k12.ny.us/~csinger/projects/amelia/fun/biopp.htm so I thought I'd just borrow it since the week is busy:

"Amelia's literal mindedness comes from reading cookbooks, where you must do exactly what it says. She even tried some of the things out herself before she included them in a book. One example would be the "sponge cake." The author said that she spent the afternoon in her kitchen cutting up sponges, stirring them into cake batter and then baking them to see how it would turn out. She didn't know whether it would turn soggy, burn up or stay "spongy." It stayed spongy-- in real life and in the book.

"When Amelia Bedelia gets a job as a maid, she sprinkles dust on everything when she is asked to dust. ("At my house we un-dust the furniture", she says. "But each to his own way.") She stuffs the Christmas stockings with turkey stuffing. She uses real sponges when she is asked to bake a sponge cake. She "changes" the towels with scissors. She goes camping and literally "pitches" the tent. While playing baseball, she "runs home" after hitting the ball. In one book, she teaches school and yells "hey, roll!" when the lesson plan says to call roll."


This is what makes Amelia so fun. And the older kids get, as they begin to learn the cliches and expressions of our culture, the funnier the stories become!

So even though the books aren't flashy, and even look a little dated, pull some off that library shelf and start laughing!

2 comments:

I never knew about Amelia Bedelia when I was a kid. But when my friends started having kids, I got to read their books. They are really cool books. I would have loved them as a kid.

June 13, 2007 at 7:53 AM  

Thanks for this article on Amelia Bedelia books. I have such fond memories of these books from childhood! I'll have to check out the web sight you posted for more info.

June 13, 2007 at 2:10 PM  

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