by Peggy Parish. Illustrated by Lynn Sweat. (Greenwillow, 2003. ISBN 9780060511166. Order Info.) Picture Book. 48 pages. Grades K-3.
Amelia Bedelia's been around a long time. Even the characters in this, the last book written by Peggy Parish in the series, are aware of her longevity. In fact, they want to have a party with all of her relatives invited to celebrate it. So Amelia gets out her family album. This is as full of word play as any of the books but, with the theme of occupations for her relatives, the jokes seem even stronger than usual. As on many family trees, there are a few lemons on Amelia Bedelia's. One of her relatives takes pictures, she says. "'What kind of pictures does he take?' asked Mr. Rogers. 'Any kind,' said Amelia Bedelia. 'You really have to watch him. He will take every picture in the house.'" Her bookkeeping relative is not particularly good at numbers, she just keeps books and never returns them. Her Cousin Chester is a printer. They never could teach him how to write.
Parish, born in South Carolina in 1927, is the author of close to fifty books for beginning readers. She died in 1988. Parish is probably best known for her humorous "Amelia Bedelia" books about a literal-minded housekeeper. These include Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia (1977), Amelia Bedelia Helps Out (1979) and Amelia Bedelia's Family Album (1988).
After college Parish taught third grade in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and finally in New York City. She came to appreciate what new readers really want: "I donŐt try to teach anything in my stories--I write just for fun."
Parish wrote three "Granny Guntry" books about an independent pioneer woman with a gun that cannot shoot. She has another amusing character, Miss Molly, who is so forgetful she forgets her own birthday in Be Ready at Eight (1979). Another humorous character is Aunt Emma. In The Cat's Burglar (1983), although the neighbors tell her she has too many cats, when a burglar intrudes, the cats save the day.
Parish also wrote six mystery stories, among them The Key to the Treasure (1966), for slightly older readers to match wits with Jed, Liza, and Bill in mysteries that are family-related.
After Peggy Parish's death, her nephew, Herman Parish, took up the Amelia Bedelia series starting with Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia.
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