Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Herman Parish
Illustrator: Lynne Avril
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Amelia Bedelia’s class is taking a field trip out into nature. After seeing all sorts of interesting plants and animals, the class stops to have lunch by the stream. When Amelia Bedelia misunderstands the teacher’s comment, “Let’s go, Wade!” she rushes into the stream to wade, and soon the whole class joins her in the fun. During the hike, each student is expected to find something for the nature table back at the school. Amelia Bedelia’s classmates all find things relatively quickly, but she searches far and wide for her own item. At first she gathers leaves, but when a fellow classmate scares her and the leaves go everywhere, she ends up finding a caterpillar instead. Back at the nature table, the caterpillar becomes the star of the show and soon a butterfly too!
Like other books in the Amelia Bedelia series, this one is marked by its humorous play on words and Amelia’s tendency to take everything literally. Not only will it make both children and adults laugh, but it also has the potential to educate children about nature and the meanings of several idioms, including “hit the trail,” “snail’s pace,” “dig in,” and “take a hike.” The story also includes a creative way to remember that leaves is the plural of leaf. As for the illustrations, they are completely satisfying—they are bright, colorful, clear, situated differently on each page to keep interest, and enhancing to the storyline. The text is also perfect for new readers in clear black font against a white background, and even the lines are perfectly tailored to flow as sentences should. This is an excellent book in a wonderful series and a great way to teach young children how to read!