Literature / Amelia Bedelia

Amelia Bedelia is a series of American children's books featuring the title character, a Literal-Minded housekeeper whose failure to understand basic English metaphors leads to much of the comedy of the series. The series was written by Peggy Parish until her death in 1988, and by her nephew Herman Parish beginning in 1995. The books have been illustrated by Wallace Tripp, Fritz Siebel, and Lynn Sweat, the current illustrator.

More recently, the series has had a number of prequel books featuring the young Amelia Bedelia as a schoolgirl. These are written by Parish also, but illustrated by Lynne Avril.

Books in this series:

    open/close all folders 

     by Peggy Parish 
  • Amelia Bedelia (1963)
  • Thank You, Amelia Bedelia (1964)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower (1966)
  • Come Back, Amelia Bedelia (1971)
  • Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia (1972)
  • Good Work, Amelia Bedelia (1976)
  • Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia (1977)
  • Amelia Bedelia Helps Out (1979)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Baby (1981)
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping (1985)
  • Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia (1986)
  • Amelia Bedelia's Family Album (1988)

     by Herman Parish 
  • Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia (1995)
  • Bravo, Amelia Bedelia! (1997)
  • Amelia Bedelia 4 Mayor (1999)
  • Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia (2002)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Christmas List (2003)
  • Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm (2003)
  • Happy Haunting, Amelia Bedelia (2004)
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School (2004)
  • Be My Valentine, Amelia Bedelia (2004)
  • Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist? (2005)
  • Amelia Bedelia's Masterpiece (2007)
  • Amelia Bedelia Under Construction (2007)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Cat (2008)
  • Go West, Amelia Bedelia! (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia, Cub Reporter (2012)

    Young Amelia Bedelia, by Herman Parish 
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School (2009)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine (2009)
  • Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend (2011)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Vote (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia Sleeps Over (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia Means Business (2013, chapter book)
  • Amelia Bedelia Unleashed (2013, chapter book)
  • Amelia Bedelia Hits the Trail (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Library Card (May 2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Road Trip! (August 2013, chapter book)
  • Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck (August 2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip (December 2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Joins the Club (February 2014)
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Wild! (March 2014, chapter book)
  • Amelia Bedelia Chalks One Up (August 2014)
  • Amelia Bedelia Shapes Up (August 2014, chapter book)
  • Amelia Bedelia Takes the Cake (2016)

This book series contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: A lot of Amelia's mess-ups cause one - or both - of her employers to laugh out loud.
  • Are We There Yet?: In Amelia Bedelia Road Trip!, when Amelia tries to take charge of the planning of the trip she's told that this is the parents' job and it's the kid's job to ask "Are we there yet?" Later, when she does this, she is told yes, because the trip is an adventure road trip to nowhere in particular, so anywhere they go is there.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: The Book.
  • Calvinball: When Amelia Bedelia becomes a substitute teacher, some math problems she reads describe the students taking each other's apples. After they admit that they didn't bring any apples to school, she brings the kids to her bosses' house, gives one team some apples, and tells the other team to try and take them. Since she only read one of the math problems aloud before starting this game, the takers grab as many apples as they can find, while the other team uses any means necessary to solve the "problem" of losing them.
  • Continuity Nod: The second Young Amelia Bedelia chapter book, Amelia Bedelia Unleashed, is full of this, including friends Amelia Bedelia made in the first one and people that recognize her from TV or otherwise from seeing her throughout town.
  • Death Glare: Amelia Bedelia's mother is capable of one.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Readers accustomed to Lynn Sweat's character designs (seen in almost all of the books written since 1976) might find it jarring to read a book illustrated by one of his predecessors, especially if it shows Amelia Bedelia with no stockings and/or Mr. and Mrs. Rogers (her bosses) with gray hair instead of brown. The first book also portrays Mr. and Mrs. Rogers as a wealthy couple with a mansion, while later books inexplicably relocate them to the suburbs.
  • Entendre Failure
  • Exact Words
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Amelia and her parents engage in this in Amelia Bedelia Road Trip!
  • Full-Name Basis: She doesn't like to be called "Amelia," she prefers her full name. The narration also refers to her consistently as "Amelia Bedelia."
  • Genius Ditz: For all her linguistic failings, Ms. Bedelia is a phenomenal cook.
  • Hair Decorations: The kid version of Amelia Bedelia wears a flower in her hair and a barrette.
  • Imagine Spot: Sometimes Amelia Bedelia thinks of a visual depiction of a metaphor (eg, voters sitting on a fence, cats and dogs falling from the sky like rain).
  • Insult Backfire:
    • "Go jump in a lake"? She already did that while "catching a fish" with her hands.
    • Telling Amelia Bedelia, "Oh, go fly a kite!" doesn't upset her, since she finds kite-flying relaxing.
  • It Runs in the Family: Amelia Bedelia's Family Album reveals that Amelia Bedelia has plenty of relatives who also take things too literally. Some relatives seen in other books don't have this tendency, but she helps them adopt it.
  • Literal-Minded: The former Trope Namer.
  • Long-Runners
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: It seems as if there is no longer any attempt being made with the young Amelia Bedelia books to try to pretend as though they're set in the time period that would actually fit the Amelia Bedelia seen in the original books. Amelia Bedelia on the Job shows Amelia Bedelia's father working on a laptop, even though personal computers didn't even exist during the 1960s time period in which the books with the adult Amelia Bedelia were first published. Additionally, Amelia Bedelia's First Library Card depicts a clearly modern library.
  • Meido
  • Pungeon Master: Amelia's father, much to her embarrassment, at least at first— some of his puns turn out to have an unexpected truth to them.
  • Speech Bubbles: Sometimes dialogue balloons appear in the Herman Parish/Lynn Sweat books.
  • Spinoff Babies: "Amelia Bedelia's First X" books
  • Spit Take: Amelia Bedelia's mother does this in Amelia Bedelia Unleashed, one of the Young Amelia Bedelia chapter books, after Amelia Bedelia suggests that she could have twins.
  • Supreme Chef: Amelia can work her way out of any situation with her aforementioned fantastic cooking.
  • Title Drop: Thank You, Amelia Bedelia, Come Back, Amelia Bedelia, and Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia provide a few of possibly several examples.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Amelia screws up basically every order she's given, often in incredibly stupid ways, and she still keeps her job (see Supreme Chef).
    • In the first book, Amelia Bedelia spent the whole day screwing up her chores, but then she baked this insanely delicious lemon meringue pie, and that caused her employers to forgive her earlier mistakes. Yes, apparently her cooking is that good.
    • Amelia did lose her housekeeping job once, giving her opportunities to misunderstand several others, such as hairdresser, where she pins up a lady's hair with safety pins, but in the end she's welcomed back with open arms.
  • Visual Pun: A stock-in-trade of the series, and largely a result of Amelia Bedelia's Literal-Minded tendencies.