It’s hard to realize that Amelia Bedelia has been misunderstanding simple directions for thirty-five years now. That’s enough time for generations of children to learn to read on Peggy Parish’s series about a muddled maid, and yet the appeal of the story continues to shine for today’s children. While a contemporary child is even less likely to be waited upon by a maid than s/he was in the early 1960’s, there is still something compelling about Amelia Bedelia.
Perhaps it is her sheer enthusiasm in responding inappropriately. What child has not had a similar experience, if not quite to the extremes of Amelia Bedelia? And of course there is always the charm of reading about an adult who is even less savvy about the world than the child reader. It is empowering to understand that not everyone possesses the mysterious knowledge that many adults seem to share.