Here are 10 Amelia Bedelia-isms I got a kick out of back in the day; leave a comment and let us know which ones you were particularly fond of.
1. In Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, Amelia is making cakes and pies for the family to eat. On the list is a date cake. After a moment of pondering where to get dates on such short notice, Amelia finds a calendar, clips out all of the dates and dumps them into her cake batter.
2. In the first Amelia Bedelia book, which is self-titled, Amelia's employers leave her a list of household chores. This includes "dust the furniture." She locates the dusting powder in the bathroom (a sign of the times, I suppose—this was first published in 1963) and carefully spreads it over all of the furniture in the house.
3. In the same book, she's told to "Draw the drapes." What's a girl to do but get out her sketchpad and doodle a quick line drawing of the curtains?
4. I remember that Amelia tying expensive steak to the green bean plants after she is told to "stake the beans" always used to make me giggle. In Amelia Bedelia Helps Out she also makes tea cakes by using tea as an ingredient. I don't know"¦ since some trendy cakes and pastries made with matcha (green tea) powder these days? Maybe Amelia was a gourmand and we just didn't realize it.
5. Be careful if you ask Amelia to make a chicken dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers found that out the hard way when they sat down to a meal that chickens would eat—cracked corn—in Good Work, Amelia Bedelia.
6. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what Ms. Bedelia did when she was told to "steal home plate" in Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia.
7. You guys probably know that "pitching a tent" doesn't involve chucking the whole mess of poles and nylon into the bushes, but AB doesn't.
8. Peggy Parish, Amelia's creator, died in 1988. But the series didn't die with her. In 1995, her nephew Herman took up the mantle. The two of them had developed a close rapport and he was aware of her writing process and style. His first book, Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia, picked up right where his aunt left off. Mr. Rogers takes Amelia for a driving lesson, and when his directions include looking for a fork in the road, our favorite bumbling housekeeper finds herself trying to spot abandoned cutlery. Sounds like Herman got it just right to me!
9. I can deal with Amelia's misadventures in cooking and cleaning, but I'm not so sure the misunderstandings would be as funny in a doctor's office. Luckily, she's not performing appendectomies or anything like that—she's just helping out by answering phones and such in Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia, also written by Herman Parish. When one patient calls to report that she's "caught a bug," Amelia's sound advice is to let it go, of course. Makes sense to me.
10. Has Amelia always been so literal? Yup. We find out about Amelia's formative years in a series about her firsts, including her first Valentine and her first day at school. As a kid who grew up with her nose in a book, I'm particularly delighted by Amelia's efforts to actually shove her nose into her reading material.
It's a good thing she made such good pies and cakes, otherwise Amelia wouldn't have lasted beyond that first day in the Rogers household. Although after dealing with her literal-mindedness for so long, wouldn't you think Mr. and Mrs. R would learn to be more specific when giving instructions? Then again, what fun would that be?