Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Favorite Fictional Character--- Amelia Bedelia


I was rather torn this month as to what direction I was going to go with as far as putting together a theme.  I had two ideas in my head, both of them based off of what happened last month.  When I did the post about Harry, The Dirty Dog, it put into my head a ton of the children's book characters that I loved while growing up.  Many of which have not been mentioned on the blog over the last few years.  Then when I did the post on Huckleberry Hound, it got me to thinking about all the wonderful Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters I could do.  After some thinking, and checking, I realized I have already done a handful of the cartoon characters over the last few years.  So this month it's going to be all about the wonderful characters that populated some of my favorite books growing up.  Not that's not to say I've abandoned the Hanna-Barbera theme, look for that later on in the year.  But for today's post, we are going to go with the maid who just can't seem to do anything right, Amelia Bedelia.


How can you not adore the literal minded maid who takes every instruction at face value?  If you ask her to dress a chicken, she will put clothes on it.  If you tell her to hit the road, she will literally got out and start hitting it with a stick.  Are you in the mood for crumb cake, well you better like a lot of crumbs.  When Amelia was first hired by the Rogers family to take care of the house, they had no clue what they were getting themselves into.

On her very first day, she threw dust on the furniture, hung light bulbs on the clothesline, and used scissors to change the towels.  I'm not sure where she learned how to be a maid, but I think her teacher failed her in every regard.    Now you would think that a family would never be able to tolerate such behavior in a maid.  What would happen if you asked her to air out the house?  I don't know, but I can't imagine it would leave much of a house.  But Amelia has a secret ace up her sleeve, she is a superb baker.  When it comes to the cakes and pies she can whip up, she has no equal.  So what do you think the Rogers family did after her first day?  They ate her lemon meringue pie, and decides it's worth everything else.  Mrs. Rogers, thankfully, figures out that everything needs to be explained to Amelia.  Every little detail of the task must be thoroughly explained.

What I loved about the Amelia Bedelia books, and there are many, is the sense of humor.  The books are such a wonderful play on words that makes fun of "adult" language.  It's not a language that makes sense to kids, and that's exactly the point.  How many times do you ask a child to do something, they do it, and it doesn't even come close to what you were expecting them to do.  It's not that they didn't do what you told them to do, but they took the wording of it very literally.  As adults, we all speak in ways that really doesn't make all that much sense.  If you tell a 4 year old to shake a leg, what do you think is going to happen.  What do you think would happen if you asked a kid to shampoo the carpet?  I'm just saying.  Well Amelia is that kid.  She may be in an adult body, be able to bake up a storm, but she is that kid.

9 comments:

Man of la Book said...

My daughter loves the Amelia Bedelia stories. I get a kick out of them as well, especially how things get taken out of context (something I like to play with myself which drives my kids nuts - in a good way).

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Lydia said...

These are some of my favorite books as well. I usually end up laughing harder than the kids I read them too. So glad to see one of my favorite characters today!

Staci said...

Amelia Bedelia is completely adorable!!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I loved these books growing up. A couple years ago, my mom even got me a collection that includes a few of these, which is awesome, since I'd never owned an actual Amelia book as a kid (I was mostly a library child).

-Lauren

StephanieD said...

I wish I had grown up with the Amelia books but alas. I love your analysis of what makes her so endearing.

Simcha said...

I love Amelia Bedelia! I've been wanting to get these books for my kids but I don't think they would understand the American idioms so the books wouldn't seem so funny to them.

carol said...

I don't remember Amelia Bedelia from when I was a kid, but I loved reading the stories to my daughter when she was younger. I think I actually had more fun with them than she did.

Lisa said...

I love Amelia! The word play is so wonderful for young readers to discover. This series and the Lemony Snicket books were so fun to read with my kids and teach them how interesting language can be.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Oh, I loved these books growing up. And then, of course, I got to enjoy them all over again with my own kids.