My son and daughter are five years apart, so sometimes it’s difficult to find read alouds that interest both of them. I was so excited that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was a hit with both of them! Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was first published in 1947, but somehow it stayed off my radar until a few years ago when I heard a bit of it during a storytime read aloud. Even then, I didn’t really take notice (perhaps because I was still in a sleep-deprived haze from my newborn daughter). As I tell my son, though, sometimes you come back to a book you thought you wouldn’t like and discover it’s wonderful, and I’m so glad we came back to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!
The children of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s town are much like children everywhere. They’re kind, funny, imaginative, and flawed. Some of them don’t want to do their work, some are picky eaters, and some are just downright rude. And, like parents everywhere, their moms and dads sometimes reach the ends of their ropes and look for help. In this case, it comes from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, who is always ready with a crazy cure, from planting seeds on a child who doesn’t want to bathe to labeling every single item belonging to a selfish child. However outlandish the child’s behavior is, the cure is sure to be equally over the top!
Betty MacDonald has written a story that provides many opportunities for some really good discussions. Behaviors and attitudes are easy topics to bring up, especially since most children have displayed many (if not all) of the ones in the book at some point in time. Instead of being preachy and didactic, though, MacDonald has Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle solve these problems in hilarious ways so that it doesn’t seem so personal when you are discussing the same problems with your children. It’s nice to have something lighthearted to refer back to when I’m reminding children that yes, they do need to take showers, even if they bathed two days ago! Also, because this book was written so long ago, some of the home situations and even some of the language may not be so familiar to all kids, so these are great points of discussion, too.
If your children like Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, there are four more books in the series. We read all of them aloud, but they are geared toward elementary school readers if you don’t want to continue the series as read alouds. All of the books were enjoyable, but I think the original book is the best. If you want to start your school year off with a read aloud that everyone can enjoy, try Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!