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It's almost time to look for Santa Clause, and it's always time to look for fun with Amelia Bedelia.
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The late Peggy Parish, well known for her stories about Amelia Bedelia, wrote many popular books for children, including Dinosaur Time, illustrated by Arnold Lobel.
"I hate reading but your books are changing my opinion." This letter, from a young Peggy Parish fan, comes as no surprise to the teachers and librarians who have put her books in the hands of children over the years. Ms. Parish wrote nearly three dozen children's books-many of which include her most famous character, the literal-minded maid named Amelia Bedelia.
Peggy Parish knew what children like to read. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in English, she taught school in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and, for over 15 years, at the well-known, progressive Dalton School in New York City. It was at Dalton that she began to find ways to release her creative ideas and energy, Though she never took a writing course, "writing stories for children came naturally." Her first book, published in 1961, was followed with Let's Be Indians and in 1963 with her unforgettable Amelia Bedelia.
Always involved with education in some way, Peggy Parish did television pieces on preschool education and children's books, wrote children's-book review columns, and led numerous in-service training workshops for teachers. In discussing her ideas about education, she said, "Children's rights are taken away from them when they enter school. What I try to show teachers is that all the skills needed to read can be taught outside of textbooks. Today's children are not going to read what they are not interested in. And if a positive attitude toward reading is not developed during the first three years of school, it is virtually impossible to develop it later."
After living in New York for many years, Peggy Parish returned to her native South Carolina. She died in November, 1988. But Ameila Bedelia did not die. Peggy Parish's nephew, Herman Parish, has written Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia and Bravo, Amelia Bedelia!, published by Greenwillow Books in 1995 and 1997 respectively.From Publishers Weekly:
Amelia Bedelia needs little introduction, but suffice it to say that in this book, when told to make date cake, she cuts up a calendar and includes all the tiny squares in the recipe. It should be no surprise to her fans that when Amelia Bedelia is told to pop six cups of popcorn, she uses six cups of kernels and almost overflows the kitchen. Christmas here is merely an excuse for Amelia Bedelia's usual misunderstandings; however, children will love her endless antics. Ultimately, she manages to please Mrs. Rogers with fresh popcorn balls and Mr. Rogers with hot spice cake. Is there room for another book about the literal-minded maid? There's always room for another book about Amelia Bedeliashe hasn't lost her touch.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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