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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

How do you follow up The Giving Tree? Well, that’s a tricky one. I wasn’t entirely certain where to go from the top of the pops (as it were). I wanted to do something recognizable but not necessarily a slam dunk. And I don’t know why Amelia Bedelia occurred to me. She’s so ubiquitous that no one ever really questions her presence on classic book lists. Still, the more I thought about her, the more I wondered if she really warrants inclusion in the “canon” of children’s literature (howsoever you define that). Yet when I went down to my children’s room, I was amazed to find not only a first edition from 1963 of the book in question (one of the many reasons I love public libraries) but also the subsequent picture book sized edition from 1999 with far more colors. This book had much to recommend it, not least of which the Horn Book quotation on the bookflap that reads, “America’s most lovable maid since ‘Hazel’…”

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20 points to anyone who can identify Hazel for me or speak to her relative lovableness.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

– Don’t get it angry. You wouldn’t like this bow-tied Popple when it’s angry:

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– In case you have forgotten what a Popple actually looks like:

Popple

– We had a Groot in The Giving Tree. Now we have:

Drax: The Amelia Bedelia of Space.

Drax

The internet failed me. I could not find an image of Drax dressed as Amelia Bedelia. Bad, internet, bad! No cookie for you!

– Our first incident, when comparing the two books, of a significant difference. As you can see, there is no powder under the mirror in the 1963 edition:

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Whereas in the 1999 edition it makes a miraculous appearance:

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– And its own close-up. Though, honestly, when in the course of human events has facial powder ever been called “dusting powder”? Feel free to correct me on this point.

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– The degree to which she attempts to hold onto her little black purse verges on the absurd:

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– To go from this . . .

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To this . . .

AmeliaBedeliaBaby

Is to traipse into a world of nightmares.

– And now we have fun with the reappearance of the missing portrait (don’t these all sound like Encyclopedia Brown mysteries?). Now you see him . . .

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Now you don’t:

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Now you see him:

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Now . . . you still see him:

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– I still say this is Amelia at her most unnerving.

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– “Please do not chase me. I am full of chocolate!”

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– Lace comparison test. Old v. new. What’s your preference?

Old:

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New:

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– And here is her fantastic statue, located at the Harvin Clarendon County Library in Manning, South Carolina. This was sculpted by James Peter Chaconas:

AmeliaBedeliaStatue

– Sometimes the best thing in the whole wide world is getting to see a group of boys reenact Amelia Bedelia without the one playing the lead feeling at all embarrassed about his awesome performance:

– Here you can find the Daily Dot piece I Accidentally Started a Wikipedia Hoax?

– And be sure to check out Minh Le’s 2013 Bookriot piece Zooey Deschanel as Amelia Bedelia: A (Hypothetical) Match Made in Quirk Heaven.

– Grace Lin’s newest podcast is Kidlit Women. Check it out today! She does transcripts and everything!

– Here’s what Andrea Tsurumi sent me in terms of the mysterious tanuki:

The tanuki of Japan from time immemorial were deified as governing all things in nature, but after the arrival of Buddhism, animals other than envoys of the gods (foxes, snakes, etc.) lost their divinity. Since all that remained was the image of possessing special powers, they were seen as evil or as yōkai, with tanuki being a representative type. Some also take the viewpoint that the image of the tanuki has overlapped with that of the mysterious and fearful  of China (leopard cat).[13] However, since the tanuki of Japan do not have the fearsome image that the leopard cats of China do, unlike in China, their image took the form of a more humorous kind of monster,[13] and even in folktales like “Kachi-kachi Yama“, and “Bunbuku Chagama“, they often played the part of foolish animals.[14][16]

Compared with kitsune, which are the epitome of shape-changing animals, one saying is given that “the fox has seven disguises, the tanuki has eight (狐七化け、狸八化け)”. The tanuki is thus superior to the fox in its disguises, but unlike the fox, which changes its form for the sake of tempting people, tanuki do so to fool people and make them seem stupid. Also, a theory is told that they simply like to change their form.

Tanuki

Tanuki1

– Here’s Kate’s before and after picture that got picked up and used in South Korean ad for skin care products:

KateKoreanAd

And here’s Kate’s best Nailed It of all time!

NailedIt

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. “Hazel” was a character featured in the Saturday Evening Post (thanks to IMDB for that tidbit!) and then a TV show of the same name starting in 1961. The title character of the show was played by the phenomenal Shirley Booth and followed her actions as she took care of a family consisting of lawyer husband, interior decorating wife (whom Hazel took care of as she was growing up), and their school age son. I really enjoyed the show (that you local library for having it on DVD!)…and now I need to go rewatch some!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Thank you! And I officially absolve myself from being ashamed for not knowing that. I thought this was some obscure children’s literature reference. Never expected The Horn Book to go so pop culture-y on us in their 1960s reviews!

      • Happy to help! If I hadn’t run into the DVDs when I was working at the public library (and then of course I had to check them out!), I wouldn’t have known either!

  2. Dusting powder was used on the body, not the face. Checkout Vanessa Redgrave in the movie, The Gathering Storm. She plays Clementine Churchill and none scene she is using dusting powder on her arms.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Now I’m utterly flummoxed. Powdering the body? I need more information on this. Boy, the makeup industry lost out big when women figured out they didn’t need to do THAT anymore.

  3. Before air-conditioning and definitely the generation born in late 19th, early 20th centuries. It was a very light amount and took care of some of the “glow.”

  4. AMELIA BEDLIA ‘belongs’ due to the wondrous wit and equally warm, wondrous Peggy Parish.

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