Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun look at Christmas traditions and terms
Cons: Familiar formula in line with others in the series
The Bottom Line
Literal take on
Many familiar Christmas
Traditions and terms




Amelia Bedelia Gets the Christmas Spirit (No, It's Not a Ghost)

Any series that goes long enough considers holiday entries.  That’s absolutely the case for TV shows, but to a lesser extent applies to books as well.  It’s certainly the case for Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, which offers a holiday dose of literal laughs.

In case you aren’t familiar with these picture books, Amelia Bedelia is the maid for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.  However, she takes everything she is told literally, much to their exasperation.  Each book finds her taking everything the wrong way in an attempt to do exactly as she’s asked, usually with hilarious results.

Christmas is coming, and that means Mrs. Rogers has some items she needs Amelia Bedelia to help her with.  She wants a date cake made.  She needs the tree trimmed and lights hung on it.  And all this before Aunt Myra arrives.  Will Amelia understand this new list?

As I said, there is a formula to these books, which can be a drawback.  When you see an item listed, it’s fairly easy to guess what Amelia will do wrong.  While it did feel a little tired here, it still made me smile if not laugh.  Unlike some books in the series, most of the instructions still make sense in today’s vocabulary, so parents won’t be left explaining a gag to their child.

On the other hand, kids paying close attention to the illustrations will figure out who is playing Santa at the end.  Parents will want to be prepared for that discussion.

Speaking of the illustrations, Lynn Sweat does them again, and she does a good job as always.  They are slightly cartoony but still fun to look at and capture the absurdity of Amelia’s antics.

This book, like the others in this series written by Peggy Parish, is classified as an easy reader most of the time.  While I do think that some things will be hard for beginning readers, like Amelia’s name, most of the vocabulary choices will be easy for them to tackle.  The book does feature some repetition and many short chapters.

While I do feel the formula is a bit too predictable at this point, there are still some laughs to be had for fans of the series.  So if you are dreaming of a literal Christmas, check out Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia.

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