Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review: Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun word play revolving around camping
Cons: Some phrases will need to be explained to non-campers
The Bottom Line
Camping confusion
Highlights some crazy English
For pitched tent of fun




A Literal Trip to the Woods

You can always count on Amelia Bedelia for laughs.  This series of easy readers focuses on a maid who takes everything that is said literally with comic results.  As the series went on, the books began to take on various themes, and that's the case with Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, a personal favorite in the series.

The Rogers are going camping, and they are taking their maid, Amelia Bedelia, with them.  She's never been before, so she has a lot to learn, like how to catch fish, pitch a tent, row a boat, and what sleeping bags are.  Will they survive the trip?

I grew up camping, so I got most of the jokes here right away.  In fact, a few of them I saw coming as soon as they were brought up, but that didn't make them any less funny.  Obviously, kids who are less familiar with camping will need some of the jokes explained to them, but it will help them learn the wacky language of English.  Plus, with word play, it doesn't kill the joke to have it explained.

Lynn Sweat wasn't the first illustrator for this series, but she did the most books, so her drawings of Amelia Bedelia and Mr. and Mrs. Rogers are the ones that stand out in my mind the most.  They're a bit cartoony, but they capture the story well and add to the fun of the book.  Of course, my complaint here is the cover, which has no bearing on the book, as will become clear to anyone who reads it.

This is listed as a reading level 2 book, and I would agree that a few of the words might be above early reader's heads, including Amelia Bedelia's name.  However, with a little help they should be able to read the book no problem.  I definitely notice as an adult the short sentences, but as a kid, I didn't find it as choppy as I do now.

Those who love word play will enjoy the Amelia Bedelia books, but those who have come camping will especially appreciate Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping.

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