Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish



Amelia Bedelia is one of my childhood favorites.  I had a difficult time understanding idioms and that has passed down to one of my children.  Looking back, I realized that she was the reason that I was able to communicate with people who used them.

In this book, Amelia begins work for a family.  She's a dedicated worker and puts all of her effort into finishing the list of chores that the family has written out for her.  Problems occur when the instructions are unclear.  Amelia follows them to the 't', even though it makes no sense to her.  The family returns and is flabbergasted at Amelia's work.  However, they find where her true talents are and learn to communicate with her in order to make this a happy situation for all.

Having a special needs child, I know how difficult communication can be.  Using unclear language to someone who doesn't understand it just muddies everything even further.  Amelia Bedelia has a charming way of explaining to adults and other children how someone with communication issues can absorb what's being said to them.  For those with good cognitive skills and poor understanding of idioms, it can help teach them that some words are meant to be taken literally.  Though there are only a few examples in the book, most of them are common and could help with day to day understanding.
The fascinating part for me is that the family that Amelia works for, even though vastly frustrated with her work, finds where her talents lie and decide to focus on that.  They learn how to be more clear and communicate with her so that she can fulfill her duties to them.  What could have been a disaster is turned into a wonderful employee/employer situation with a little understanding and shifting.

For those who don't have communication issues, it's simply an adorable and humorous book.  Amelia is industrious, a hard worker, silly, and completely lovable.

This book is just one of many, but it's a great way to introduce your child to Amelia and see if he/she is interested.  The pictures are colorful and there are anywhere from a couple of sentences to a small paragraph per page.  Most third graders could easily read this on their own.

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