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Amelia Bedelia

Last updated Friday, August 7, 2009

Author: Peggy Parish
Illustrator: Fritz Siebel
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 0694012963
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2009

Synopsis: Amelia Bedelia is a housekeeper who takes her instructions quite literally. Reading the list of chores that her employer has left her, Amelia begins with "Dust the furniture." How odd, Amelia thinks to herself. "At my house we undust the furniture." Nonetheless, she dutifully locates the "Dusting Powder" in the bathroom, and proceeds to sprinkle it all over the living-room furniture and floor. Next she is asked to "Draw the drapes when the sun comes in." So of course, Amelia sits down with a sketchpad and gives it her best shot. Children love reading about the antics of silly Amelia Bedelia for myriad reasons. It's an early reader book, so children in primary grades can take satisfaction in reading the book on their own. But, even more thrilling, children who are 6 and older can successfully interpret the figurative meaning behind most adult idioms. Being told to "keep an eye on the cat," for example, might compel some preschoolers to stick their eyeballs on a cat's face, eliciting peals of laughter from know-it-all grownups. But older children know better, and they love the fact that they know better. Young readers will find this bumblingly charming, eager-to-please housekeeper as irresistible as Amelia Bedelia's employers do. - Amazon.com

Note to readers:
•  Vocab:
•  grand, lemon meringue, exclaimed, fired Read the questions ahead of time and ask them when you get to that part of the book. Let the kids try to figure out what to do right along with Amelia.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a housekeeper? What do they do?
•  What have you done to surprise someone?
•  What do you think "trim" is supposed to mean?
•  What about "dress"?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think "change" is supposed to mean? What about "dust"? Does anyone know what dusting powder is?
•  What do you think "draw" is supposed to mean? Based on previous experiences, do you think Amelia will understand what it means?
•  What do you think "put the lights out" is supposed to mean?
•  What do you think "measured" is supposed to mean?
•  Have you ever misunderstood instructions because a word had two different meanings?
•  How does it make you feel when you want to do things right but can't understand the instructions?
•  Can you think of another time when you or your friends were confused?

Craft ideas:
•  Have the kids draw there favorite silly scenes from the book. How would they draw Amelia "dusting" the furniture, "changing" the towels etc?
•  Draw the drapes, just like Amelia!
•  Make a lemon meringue pie out of construction paper, scissors and tape.
•  What kind of chores do you do around the house? Draw a picture of a chore that you or a sibling has to perform (making the bed, taking out the trash, picking up their toys etc.) To add a spin, you could ask the children to draw a silly depiction of their own chores (making the bed = building a bed, taking out the trash = taking the trash to the park, picking up their toys = picking their toys up from school etc.).

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!