Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
How do you follow up The Giving Tree? Well, that’s a tricky one. I wasn’t entirely certain where to go from the top of the pops (as it were). I wanted to do something recognizable but not necessarily a slam dunk. And I don’t know why Amelia Bedelia occurred to me. She’s so ubiquitous that no one ever really questions her presence on classic book lists. Still, the more I thought about her, the more I wondered if she really warrants inclusion in the “canon” of children’s literature (howsoever you define that). Yet when I went down to my children’s room, I was amazed to find not only a first edition from 1963 of the book in question (one of the many reasons I love public libraries) but also the subsequent picture book sized edition from 1999 with far more colors. This book had much to recommend it, not least of which the Horn Book quotation on the bookflap that reads, “America’s most lovable maid since ‘Hazel’…”
20 points to anyone who can identify Hazel for me or speak to her relative lovableness.
Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.
– Don’t get it angry. You wouldn’t like this bow-tied Popple when it’s angry:
– In case you have forgotten what a Popple actually looks like:
– We had a Groot in The Giving Tree. Now we have:
Drax: The Amelia Bedelia of Space.
The internet failed me. I could not find an image of Drax dressed as Amelia Bedelia. Bad, internet, bad! No cookie for you!
– Our first incident, when comparing the two books, of a significant difference. As you can see, there is no powder under the mirror in the 1963 edition:
Whereas in the 1999 edition it makes a miraculous appearance:
– And its own close-up. Though, honestly, when in the course of human events has facial powder ever been called “dusting powder”? Feel free to correct me on this point.
– The degree to which she attempts to hold onto her little black purse verges on the absurd:
– To go from this . . .
To this . . .
Is to traipse into a world of nightmares.
– And now we have fun with the reappearance of the missing portrait (don’t these all sound like Encyclopedia Brown mysteries?). Now you see him . . .
Now you don’t:
Now you see him:
Now . . . you still see him:
– I still say this is Amelia at her most unnerving.
– “Please do not chase me. I am full of chocolate!”
– Lace comparison test. Old v. new. What’s your preference?
– And here is her fantastic statue, located at the Harvin Clarendon County Library in Manning, South Carolina. This was sculpted by James Peter Chaconas:
– Sometimes the best thing in the whole wide world is getting to see a group of boys reenact Amelia Bedelia without the one playing the lead feeling at all embarrassed about his awesome performance:
– Here you can find the Daily Dot piece I Accidentally Started a Wikipedia Hoax?
– And be sure to check out Minh Le’s 2013 Bookriot piece Zooey Deschanel as Amelia Bedelia: A (Hypothetical) Match Made in Quirk Heaven.
– Grace Lin’s newest podcast is Kidlit Women. Check it out today! She does transcripts and everything!
– Here’s what Andrea Tsurumi sent me in terms of the mysterious tanuki:
The tanuki of Japan from time immemorial were deified as governing all things in nature, but after the arrival of Buddhism, animals other than envoys of the gods (foxes, snakes, etc.) lost their divinity. Since all that remained was the image of possessing special powers, they were seen as evil or as yōkai, with tanuki being a representative type. Some also take the viewpoint that the image of the tanuki has overlapped with that of the mysterious and fearful 狸 of China (leopard cat). However, since the tanuki of Japan do not have the fearsome image that the leopard cats of China do, unlike in China, their image took the form of a more humorous kind of monster, and even in folktales like “Kachi-kachi Yama“, and “Bunbuku Chagama“, they often played the part of foolish animals.
Compared with kitsune, which are the epitome of shape-changing animals, one saying is given that “the fox has seven disguises, the tanuki has eight (狐七化け、狸八化け)”. The tanuki is thus superior to the fox in its disguises, but unlike the fox, which changes its form for the sake of tempting people, tanuki do so to fool people and make them seem stupid. Also, a theory is told that they simply like to change their form.
– Here’s Kate’s before and after picture that got picked up and used in South Korean ad for skin care products:
And here’s Kate’s best Nailed It of all time!
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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