Friday, November 30, 2012
Amelia Bedelia Turns 50
The new books include Amelia Bedelia: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, a facsimile of the 1963 volume, which has an announced first printing of 100,000 copies. The picture book features Siebel’s original four-color jacket art and green-and-black interior illustrations. Back matter reproduces archival photos; spreads from Siebel’s dummy, with handwritten editorial notes from the book’s editor, Susan Hirschman; and pages from the Harper & Row catalogue announcing the book. Also due is a new edition of the I Can Read! version of that first book, featuring a foil cover; and the two inaugural Amelia Bedelia Chapter Books: Amelia Bedelia Means Business and Amelia Bedelia Unleashed, written by Herman Parish (Peggy’s nephew) and illustrated by Lynne Avril.
Duncan, who has edited the Amelia Bedelia books since she arrived at Greenwillow in 1997, points to the books’ unfailing humor when asked about their enduring appeal. “The way that Amelia Bedelia always does exactly what she’s told, literally, is very funny,” she says. “And the other thing I love about her is that she is so positive. She has this can-do approach to whatever situation she finds herself in, which is very appealing. She barges in, handles things, and everything works out. Amelia Bedelia just loves life. She never grows old.”