Back to School: Amelia Bedelia's First Day at School by Herman Parish
"Are you my teacher?" Amelia Bedelia asked.
"I am Mrs. O'Malley. I teach gym."
"Oh," said Amelia Bedelia.
"I am not Jim. I am Amelia Bedelia."
Who else but our Amelia Bedelia could have that conversation with a straight face. The perennially cheerful housekeeper for the Rogers family is back in a new sub-series from the hand of Herman Parish, nephew of her creator Peggy Parish, in which the young Amelia officially begins her comic battle with idioms and homophones. Here is the young student in her first conversation with her teacher.
"Hello there! My name is Miss Edwards. You must be Amelia!"
"How did you know?" asked Amelia Bedelia.
"Because you are my last tag," said Miss Edwards,
Amelia Bedelia started running. "You can't catch me," she yelled. "I'm too fast!"
"Come back!" said Miss Edwards, laughing. "We aren't playing tag! I have a nametag for you!"
Rollcall is a bit of a problem for this literal-minded girl as well.
"Amelia Bedelia?" said Miss Edwards.
"What?" said Amelia Bedelia.
"Not WHAT," said Miss Edwards. "HERE!"
"I hear you," said Amelia Bedelia.
"Good!" said Miss Edwards. "When you hear your name, say it."
"IT!" hollered Amelia Bedelia.
"It?" said her teacher. "Who is IT?"
"I will be IT," said Amelia Bedelia. "Can we play tag NOW?"
It's easy to see where this school day is going, but luckily her teacher has a bit more patience with her pupil than Amelia Bedelia's future boss Mrs. Rogers. In fact, Miss Edwards has the good grace to make a running joke out of their initial misunderstanding as she dismisses her student for the day.
"You'll have fun tomorrow," said Miss Edwards. "We are having an assembly."
"Hooray!" said Amelia Bedelia. "What are we building?"
"Memories," smiled Miss Edwards. Then she tapped Amelia Bedelia once.
"Tag! You're IT until tomorrow!"
Amelia Bedelia smiled. She couldn't wait until tomorrow.
Backed up by Lynne Avril's flowing illustrations and just in time for the back-to-school season, Herman Parish's new Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School (Greenwillow, 2009) is a great ice-breaker for the first day of school, with the added pedagogical opportunity for a lesson on active listening!