Amelia Bedelia (book)
First Edition Cover
|Publisher||Harper & Row|
|Media type||Print (Softcover)|
|Followed by||Thank You, Amelia Bedelia|
Amelia Bedelia is the first book in the Amelia Bedelia children's picture book series about a housekeeper who takes her instructions literally. It was written by Peggy Parish and published in 1963. HarperCollins adapted this and several other books in the series for its I Can Read! line of beginning books. Over 35 million copies of books in the Amelia Bedelia series have been sold. A 50th anniversary edition was published in 2013 which includes author's notes and archive photos. The first two chapter books in the series written by Peggy's nephew, Herman Parish, were published to coincide with the anniversary, focusing on the young Amelia Bedelia.
The idea for the book came from Peggy's third-grade students at the Dalton School in Manhattan who tended to confuse vocabulary, often with comic results. A housekeeper at her grandparents' home, where Peggy often played as a child, was likely the inspiration for a housekeeper as the protagonist.
Amelia Bedelia is hired as a maid for the wealthy Rogers family. Despite meaning well, Amelia cannot seem to do anything right because she does not understand the vernacular used by her employers. Mrs. Rogers gives her a list of chores to complete while the family goes out for the day. After choosing to make a lemon meringue pie to be nice, Amelia proceeds to take all the chores literally: she "dresses the chicken" in tiny clothes, "drawing the drapes" on a piece of notebook paper, dusts (rather than undusts) the furniture, and "puts out the lights" by hanging them on the clothesline.
When the Rogers return home, Mrs. Rogers is bewildered that none of the chores are done. On the verge of firing Amelia, she has a bite of Amelia's pie shoved in her mouth, and finds it so delicious she forgives Amelia and decides to keep her—but vows to write more explicit instructions in the future.
Amelia's list went like this...and listed is what she did.
- Put out the lights - Took all the lightbulbs out of their sockets and hung them on a clothesline.
- Dust the furniture - Literally threw dust on the furniture with dusting powder (in her house they "undust" furniture)
- Change the towels in the green bathroom - Used scissors to change the look of the towels.
- Draw the drapes when the sun comes in - Drew a picture of the drapes.
- Measure two cups of rice - Poured rice in two coffee cups, stacked them, measured them with a ruler, then dumped the rice back in the box.
- Trim the fat on the steak - Put lace trimmings around the steak.
- Dress the chicken - Put clothes on the chicken.
(The last two things she was still allowed to do in the future.)
- Lodge, Sally (29 November 2012). "Amelia Bedelia Turns 50". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Kim, Susanna (29 January 2013). "Amelia Bedelia Turns 50 With a New Look". ABC News. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- MacPherson, Karen (26 March 2013). "Children's Corner: Celebrating 50 Years of Amelia Bedelia". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Rullo, Gina. "Happy Birthday, Amelia Bedelia! An interview with Herman Parish". firstbook.org. Retrieved 11 June 2013.