Amelia Bedelia, beloved literary housekeeper extraordinaire, is like what would happen if you combined Mary Poppins with a five-year-old. She goes about her day happily, without complaint, and does everything absolutely wrong. Somehow, her baked goods always make things right, which makes me wonder just what’s in that lemon meringue pie… Here are seven of the most ridiculous things Amelia Bedelia did and still managed not to get fired.
She destroyed the linens.
Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish and Fritz Siebel
When Amelia first arrives at the Rogers’ house, Mrs. Rogers tells her to do everything as it is on the list, and so, Amelia does, to the letter. If you have a friend who doesn’t understand what literally actually means, please direct them to this series. In any case, among the tasks Amelia briefly questions but then completes is “changing the towels”. Amelia, simple creature that she is, decides that means snipping decorative holes in Mrs. Rogers’ best bathwear. This book started a small but intense craze when it was first published in 1988 and no one left a shower effectively dried off for those two weeks.
She propelled a toupée into the air with a leaf blower.
Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist?, by Herman Parish and Lynn Sweat
It’s never really explained why people are happy to have Amelia’s help, but there she is at the school science fair, and right when Miss Edmunds needs to conveniently disappear for a while. Amelia is working at the fair as a judge, and the other judge, Dr. Dinglebatt, is teaching her all about judging science fairs. Amelia is doing her best to keep her “Eureka!” moments straight and helping some of the students when a little too much baking soda and vinegar combine to unleash a series of events, culminating in the launch of Dr. Dinglebatt’s hairpiece. All mansplainers should be so fortunate.
She made Pinterest explode with her DIY marble countertops.
Amelia Bedelia Under Construction, by Herman Parish and Lynn Sweat
Amelia Bedelia is left in charge of two children (Andrew and Angela) while their father is at an out-of-town board meeting and their mother is at a doctor’s appointment. Two easily confused construction workers amble over and are convinced to start building an addition to the house, despite being at the wrong address. Meanwhile, inside the house, Amelia and the kids are taking the items on dad’s to-do list verbatim: sanding the deck (with sand) and breaking ground with a hammer. When the kids tell Amelia their mom wants marble countertops, Amelia mixes up some flour paste and carefully applies Andrew’s marble collection to every surface in the kitchen. Yes, you saw that here first.
She iced the fish.
Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower, by Peggy Parish and Barbara Siebel Thomas
Sometimes Amelia has to work a little harder to take instructions at their word. In this book, Amelia and her cousin Alcolu are helping Mrs. Rogers throw a surprise shower for her friend, Miss Alma. Before the shower mayhem can get underway, however, Mr. Rogers shows up with a line of fresh caught fish, and asks Amelia and Alcolu to scale and ice them. It’s no surprise when Amelia weighs the fish on a scale. When she uses the chocolate icing she made for cupcakes to ice the fish, the conceit is stretched a little far. Wouldn’t making fish cold be the closest literal definition? But, it’s much funnier to see fancy ladies biting into chocolate frosted raw fish, so I guess we can forgive this one.
She drove the bookmobile to a bookstore to buy a book for the library.
Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm, by Herman Parish and Lynn Sweat
After creating some additional chaos at the library on the day of the head librarian’s visit, Amelia ends up helping kids with their homework and doing various crafts projects. When one child, Lisa, reveals that her dog ate the obedience book they borrowed, Amelia thinks she’s been given instructions on how to replace it. Lisa’s mother gets deputized to run the unofficial programming that Amelia is abandoning in order to commit grand theft bookmobile in pursuit of the destroyed volume. The police do get involved, but fortunately they and the library staff laugh it all off rather quickly. And it’s all resolved without any pies, somehow.
She visited the doctor’s office and left without being seen.
Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia, by Herman Parish and Lynn Sweat
At the start of this book Amelia is being dropped off, by Mr. Rogers, for an appointment at the doctor’s office. At the end of this book, after creating her usual mayhem, it’s Mr. Rogers who needs the doctor. We never learn why Amelia was there in the first place! In between, Amelia “helps out” the busy doctor’s office by riling up the patients and complicating the already-packed schedule. Eventually, like with all medical maladies, ice cream saves the day.
She wasted a great deal of steak, again!
Amelia Bedelia Helps Out, by Peggy Parish and Lynn Sweat
Amelia, you keep making the same mis-steaks! First it was “trimming a steak”, where you made it so pretty with ribbons and bows (see Amelia Bedelia). And now, you were asked to stake some beans, and you did. And while steak and beans sounds delicious, what happened was that bean plants that needed support, and you instead weighted them down with chunks of meat. Unforgivable, I say. There’s just no excuse. Wait. Hold the phone… Is that a pie, I spy? Amelia, you can put the phone down, now.
Did we miss any of the truly ridiculous things Amelia Bedelia did?