Our daughter, Sally (also known as Bean), is 5 1/2 and loves being read to. She isn’t quite reading on her own yet, but it will probably happen any day now and when it does… she’ll be unstoppable. After reading to her from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic this evening, we discussed which stories (from all of the books) are her favorite and so she made a list (which included much giggling when she recalled what each story is about). If you haven’t heard of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle… well, you’re missing out. She is, in short, a very kind woman who understands how children are and always has time to listen to their stories, dreams, and problems. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an up-side down house, has buried treasure in her backyard and always keeps & displays prominently, the strange and lumpy gifts that children make for her. As Bean says, “she’s just really magical and solves problems.”
Bean’s favorite Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories, in order:
1. The Thought-You-Saiders Cure from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic
Hilarity ensues when three siblings are constantly mishearing things that their parents say. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle recommends a magical powder that intensifies their hearing which quickly solves the problem.
2. The Radish Cure from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
A little girl refuses to take a bath/shower and on the advice of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, her parents let her get nice and dirty so that they can plant little radishes in her layers of dirt. All problems are solved when the radishes start to grow off of her skin and she begs to take a shower!
3. The Won’t-Pick-Up-Toys Cure from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
A little boy needs to be fed by rake and garden hose via his bedroom window when his toys take over his room and he can’t get out of his bedroom door. But when Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle comes by his house with a marching band and a parade, he quickly sees the error of his ways and cleans up his mess.
4. The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Bean’s favorite part is when Allen, the boy who won’t eat more than a spoonful at meals, is so weak that he lays across Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s horse, Spotty. Allen is described as a sack of cornmeal, a doughboy, & a wet sock because he so pale and weak from not eating. Bean rolls with laughter at each descriptor.
5. The Messy Stuff-and-Cram Cure from Happy Birthday Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Poor Katy is essentially attacked by all of the stuff she’s messily crammed into every corner, drawer, box, & closet of her room after Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle consults with her parents. Katy goes from a crammer of stuff to folder of clothes & an organizer of things- much to the happiness of her parents.
The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories were written by Betty MacDonald. Our favorite editions have drawings by Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) & Hilary Knight (Eloise). I find that I need to edit some of the gendered language out (little girls can be more than future housewives, after all) but on the whole they are very funny. My mom was listening as I read to Bean tonight and I couldn’t help remembering when she read these to me when I was little- definitely a series to pass along through the generations.