For Young (And Not So Young) Fans
By Peggy Parish, Illustrated by Fritz Siebel
Greenwillow Books, $14.99, 32 pages
Amelia Bedelia, the well-loved bumbling housekeeper of author Peggy Parish’s creation, turns 50 with this commemorative edition of her original book. On her first day of work as the Rogers’ maid, Amelia Bedelia follows a list of directions left for her by Mrs. Rogers. The list includes such tasks as drawing the drapes, dusting the furniture and dressing the chicken. Amelia Bedelia, who is logical to the point of being illogical, thinks the chores odd, but obediently draws a picture of the drapes, sprinkles dust all over the furniture (at her house, she undusts) and dresses the chicken in charming overalls and socks. Mrs. Rogers returns home to a frightfully executed list, but Amelia Bedelia is kept on after Mr. Rogers makes a delicious discovery.
The book features the original artwork of Fritz Siebel, even maintaining the color scheme of the 1963 first printing – black and green; young kids may get the impression the world had a more limited color pallet back then! The illustrations are like a time capsule of fashion, décor and architecture, and the story is full of linguistic humor that simply doesn’t get stale. At the end is seven pages of bonus material, including author and illustrator bios, and lithographs of the dummy book, complete with yellowed tape and editorial notes. This is a great way to introduce new readers to hilarious world Amelia Bedelia.
Reviewed by Andrea Klein