Friday, January 23, 2009

Foodie Friday Visit with Amelia Bedelia

I feel as if I'm reaching back into the archives on this Foodie Friday to visit an old favorite, Peggy Parish's Amelia Bedelia. This was a guaranteed laugh out loud book for me as a kid, and my own children enjoy it today. In case you are unfamiliar with Amelia who made her debut in 1963, she is a very literal minded girl who is hired as the new housekeeper for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers leave Amelia with a to do list and head out for the day. When the list says to draw the drapes when the sun comes out, she takes out paper and pencil and starts sketching. When the list directs her to change the towels, she gets busy snipping them with a pair of scissors. It is humorous and a great introduction to idioms. It's perfect for kids because they spend their days wading through semantic ambiguity. They can relate to Amelia so well. So much of what Mr. and Mrs. Rogers request seems ridiculous to her just as so much of what adults request seems to defy reason for kids. Some of the idiomatic confusion makes its way into the kitchen. Mrs. Rogers wants Amelia Bedelia to trim the steaks. She decorates them with ribbons and lace. Mrs. Rogers wants the chicken dressed, and Amelia Bedelia wonders if she should dress it as a boy chicken or a girl chicken. She measures rice with a tape measure. All of the miscommunication leads to Amelia Bedelia's firing, that is until Mr. and Mrs. Rogers taste her heavenly lemon meringue pie. A reading of Amelia Bedelia would be a great springboard for a discussion of language, idiomatic expressions, and clear communication, and it's also a really good excuse to share a slice of lemon meringue pie!
There are many other books in the Amelia Bedelia series of easy readers. Peggy Parish's nephew Herman Parish started writing more in 1995. They are fun easy readers, but the original remains my favorite.

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