Saturday, August 11, 2012

If You Like Amelia Bedelia You are Insane and Other Annoying Characters in Children's Lit

I am dutifully reading young adult fiction. There is so much out there to read! I actually picked up Heidi today as it was sitting out in my living room. I had pulled it with the last stack of books to present to the boy that we could read (it wasn't chosen). I loved this book when I was young, but realized I hadn't read it since then, which doing the math equates to "a while". I was discussing the character Heidi this week with my ten-year old niece. I was honored to have her accompany me to the bookstore the other day. I am fascinated by her as she is a great reader and I am always interested in what she is reading. She is bright and well read and is delightful to discuss books with. I mentioned the book Pollyanna to her and asked her if she had ever read it.  I can not stand Pollyanna and think I would have hated knowing her. She was so chipper and sweet and I always found her unbearable. I recently passed this tidbit that Pollyanna was insufferable to my nine-year old niece. I didn't even remember bad mouthing Pollyanna but my sister-in-law mentioned to me that she had purchased Pollyanna for her daughter to read and was told that in no way would she read the book. Auntie Becky had told her Pollyanna was a ghastly book. Oops...sorry I muttered, but I felt as though I helped her dodge the Pollyanna bullet.

The ten-year old niece told me she wasn't so sure about Heidi in the same way. Was Heidi too perfect? Too sweet? Too good? I've never been bothered by Heidi, but in re-reading it today I can see why she questions her. She borders on the too sweet - but not insufferably so. Not like that dastardly Pollyanna.

I thought about other characters I loathed. Bella in Twilight springs to mind. I admit I read the first book in the series. The story itself wasn't horrific, I've always liked vampires, and the part where they play baseball I found interesting (I really like baseball). But the 498 page book should have been edited by about 400 pages. Reading it made me feel as though I was having a conversation with a fifteen-year old girl (a not so smart one who constantly uses the word "like"). I hated Bella. I really wished a real vampire, like good old Count Dracula would come in and drain her and we'd been done.

Pippy Longstocking is another character I abhor. Ugh, I hated Pippy. I never got past that fact that one of her socks never stayed up. Plus she had a horse in her house. She was so annoying!!!

Green Eggs and Ham, there's another one. I just hate that book. In real life someone would've placed a restraining order against Sam-I-Am. How long did those eggs get carted about or are we to think that he was constantly making new ones? By the end of the book, when they finally got eaten, they had to be cold at best, old and stinky is more probable. I don't let this book taint my opinion of Dr. Seuss however.

The Giving Tree, there's another book that is complete shite. That boy is a jerk. I hate that book and when people say it is a beautiful symbiotic relationship and shows the joy of total self-sacrifice I want to  buy them a gift card for therapy. It is similar to The Rainbow Fish. Another preachy stupid book.

I dislike the Berenstein Bears too. The dad is an idiot, and the children are horrific brats. The mother has so much to do to accommodate them that she can't even get around to taking her night cap off.

My sister always tells me how much she hates the Cat in the Hat book. She says she's the fish in the story, always saying "WHOA!! Clean that up! Stop doing that!" I find the book amusing, but I've always pictured the cat as more of a weird, crazy child-less uncle.

Amelia Bedelia is another character that I can't stomach. I don't see why her complete nincompoop-ness is something that is considered humorous or of any merit to read to children. I worked with a lady who told me those were her favorite books. She loved Amelia Bedelia and found her zany antics delightful and funny. I realized that the coworker must be insane.


  1. your old neighbor cindyAugust 25, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I too do not have a tolerance for Bella - she is always being "saved" and "protected" by others. And desperate to be with Edward, despite the fact that she has to DIE to do so. Ugh - not the role model I want for my students.

    I liked Katniss as a heroine and fighter in The Hunger Games, but was disappointed in how they turned her into a stubborn brat in Catching Fire - where her success was due to being manipulated & set up by others.

    I like Amelia Bedelia for her "Lucille Ball" like qualities. I also like the word play in those books (I specifically remember that's where I learned the word "pare" (but AB "pairs" the apples two by two).

  2. My 7 year old boy loves Amelia Bedelia. I never read her until he started getting books from library. He thinks she is hilarious. I just figured I'm too old. I mean who can afford to go buy new clothes when she ruins them by 'checking' them or cutting out the spots. Also, as a woman of our times with a nephew who has autism, I help feeling worried that my son will not learn to be tolerant of someone with Amelia Bedelia's qualities and find myself saying things like 'oh, she didn't understand' and 'isn't it nice Mr. and Mrs. Rogers don't get upset. they are very patient.'