Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Auntie Knickers’ Advent Storytime Begins!

It sometimes happens that life interferes with our best-laid plans, and that’s what happened last year around this time; a thing as small as a broken tooth kept me from fulfilling my commitment to bring stories for the Christmas season on my blog. This year, I’m planning to do better. I will be telling about a story every day, but also making available a reading (by me) of the story with a link to a file-hosting service. (The service is free to downloaders, but limited, so if you want to download the stories, I’d advise doing it immediately rather than saving them up to get all at once.)

Today’s story is a silly one that shows the dangers of taking things too literally. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia was the next-to-last of the Amelia Bedelia series to be written by the original author, Peggy Parish. (After her death in 1988, her nephew took over the series.)

amelia bedelia The Amelia Bedelia books were favorites when we wanted a simple, silly story. Yet, there is no book so silly that it cannot start a discussion. Amelia Bedelia has problems in her work because she doesn’t understand common idioms and takes her employer’s orders too literally. She also has a good heart and a fund of common sense, so when things go wrong, she generally is able to have everything turn out for the best.

When I was researching a bit about Peggy Parish, of course one of the first Google hits was a Wikipedia article. It made me a bit more suspicious of Wikipedia than I had been, since it claimed that Parish got her idea for Amelia Bedelia from time spent in Cameroon. None of the other biographies,those from her publishers or the Greenville Library one referenced above, mentioned such a stay, and indeed, it’s hard to see when she would have fitted it in. According to Greenville, Parish actually got the idea from the literal-mindedness of her privileged students at the renowned and expensive Dalton School in New York City.

Most kids now don’t grow up with a full-time maid in the house, so reading this story would also be a time to talk a little bit about domestic service, especially if, as we do, you have grandparents or great-grandparents who entered the work force by that route. If you can recall some of the stories they told, or if you are fortunate enough to have such relatives still living, even a silly tale like Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia can be a springboard for teaching family history.

The introduction I’ve recorded was written for Sisterfilms. There’s also a little surprise included in the folder you’ll get with the link below. Meanwhile, here’s a video posted by a pretty good guitarist/singer of the song, “Serving Girl’s Holiday.”

And here are three links that will take you to the downloads:

Introduction Story Surprise

You’ll want to save them into a Downloads folder and then open them; I think they should play in either Windows Media Player or iTunes. Enjoy! (And let me know if you have any trouble, I’m new at this.)

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