Hitting Close to Home

A few weeks ago our washing machine died after suffering a long and agonizing battle with a litany of ailments.

As luck would have it, dealing with the death of the washer paled in comparison to coordinating the delivery of a new machine with a well-known big-box appliance retailer.

“I’m about to pull out all my hair,” I exclaimed after hanging up the phone with what had to be the most unprofessional customer representative outside of the commercial aviation industry.

“Oh Mommy,” my 7-year-old daughter responded a bit sheepishly. “I don’t think you will look good bald.”

She’s right.

Actually, I didn’t know she was in the room when I uttered my idle threat, but her heartfelt and hilarious reply turned my mood around instantly.

It also reminded me how young children have a tendency to take things literally.

Coincidentally, that habit is delightfully depicted in one of daughter’s favorite books: Amelia Bedelia’s First Field Trip.


The charming picture book is written by Herman Parish, the nephew of the late Peggy Parish, who penned the original Amelia Bedelia series. Peggy’s beloved tales of a bumbling housekeeper, who constantly gets into trouble by taking things too literally, are children’s classics. However, Herman’s idea to take a step back in time and create a new collection of stories featuring an elementary school-aged Amelia Bedelia is sheer genius. What’s more, the illustrations by Lynne Avril are so mesmerizing you could get lost in the book without reading a single word. The pictures are darling, detailed, and play perfectly into the pun-ny world young Amelia Bedelia resides.

Amelia Bedelia’s First Field Trip shows readers what transpires when a little girl with a big imagination and inclination for interpreting things by the letter ventures to a real farm with her classmates.

Thanks to Amelia Bedelia, shaking a leg, hitting the hay and tossing salad have never been so funny.

The pint-sized character, whose vocabulary lacks the word “figuratively,” arrives at the Dinkins’ farm and instantly hears that the farmer’s wife has a green thumb. This leads Amelia Bedelia to wonder if the woman also possesses a pink pinky.

The amusing misunderstandings continue as the class meets the animals.

“‘Here’s our litter,’ said Mr. Dinkins. Amelia Bedelia didn’t see any trash – just ten piglets eating.”

Then, it’s off to the gardens where Mrs. Dinkins shares information about the crops which include green, wax, Lima and soy beans.

This, of course, leads Amelia Bedelia to ask the Dinkins if they also grow jelly beans.

In addition to the literal lunacy, the book is peppered with bright, bold and beautiful drawings of young Amelia Bedelia dreaming of chickens laying candy cane striped eggs and potato eyes, ears of corn and heads of lettuce sprouting to life.

Amelia Bedelia’s First Field Trip is a smile-a-minute read for kids ages 3 to 8, though some of the jokes may need to be explained to younger children. Regardless, whether your kid is gearing up for his own class trip or you simply want a lighthearted bedtime selection to share with your sleepyheads; you can’t go wrong with Amelia Bedelia.

You can view Amelia Bedelia’s First Field Trip on HarperCollins’ website and purchase it at various book stores across the country.

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My Mommy Hung the Moon


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.