Friday, September 23, 2011

Puns A-Plenty! Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip by Herman Parish

"Welcome to Fairview Farm," said Farmer Dinkins.

"I'll take you to see the animals, and then Mrs. Dinkins will show you her garden.

She's got a real green thumb!"

A real green thumb! Little Amelia Bedelia perks up her ears. That's something she's never seen. Does Mrs. Dinkins also have a pink pinkie? But, drat! Mrs. Dinkins is wearing her gardening gloves! Amelia Bedelia determines that she's going to see that green digit before this field trip is over!

In fact, Fairview Farm gives young Amelia a lot of new things to think about. Does a farmer plant jelly beans along with the green beans? If a hen eats peppermint candy canes, will her eggs be striped red and white? And how can vegetables have heads and ears and eyes? Lost in thought, Amelia has to be reminded by Farmer Dinkins to keep up with the tour.

"Hey, Daydreamer!" he says. "Shake a leg!"

"Which one?" said Amelia Bedelia.

"Which one what?" said the perplexed farmer.

"You said, "Shake a leg!'" said Amelia Bedelia.

"Right!" said Mr. Dinkins.

Amelia Bedelia shook her right leg and ran to catch up.

Our literalist little scholar also has a punny event when she is asked to pitch in and "toss" the salad for the class's picnic lunch--with predictable results!

There's plenty of farm lore and knowledge along with the giggles in Herman Parish's newest, Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip (Greenwillow, 2011), with Lynn Avril's light-hearted illustrations to add to the fun. Amelia's class learns about taking care of farm animals, tries their hands at milking Sunshine the cow, sit on the big tractor, and when little Amelia Bedelia is disappointed to learn that there are no such things as jelly bean plants, Mrs. Dinkins give them a chance to see how real jelly is made, beginning with a chance to do some pickin' in the berry patch.

And that green thumb? Amelia Bedelia does learn what a real green thumb can do in a garden, and the whole class gets a chance to develop their own green thumbs as Mrs. Dinkins passes out real pumpkin seeds for them to take back to cultivate. It's everything a field trip should be, plenty to learn, novel hands-on experiences, and a few shared laughs along the way. Although Peggy Parish's original Amelia Bedelia stories are forever young, Herman Parish's sequels featuring the first-grade Amelia give this beloved character a new lease on her literary life.

Other schooltime stories of little Amelia include Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School, Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie, and Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine.

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