Customer Reviews: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
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on January 28, 2005
I started reading aloud to my students years ago as a technique to calm them after recess and P.E. classes. Throughout my long teaching career, I have read this book to probably thousands of children. I am about to retire, but the kids today seem to love this book as much as they did thirty-seven years ago when I first began teaching. That is truly remarkable and goes to show that children never really change though their surroundings do. Many of my students love this story so much, they check out other Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books from the library, which helps improve their reading skills.
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on May 31, 2003
I loved reading the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books as a child, and I loved reading "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle", "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic", and "Hello, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" again in this wonderful collection. The only problem is that "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm" is not included.
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Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the neighbor everyone wishes they had. She's the widow of a pirate, lives in an upside down house, and is always ready for a tea party with freshly baked cookies. She's such an expert on kids that parents have started calling on her wisdom to cure their kids when they start misbehaving. And whether it's making chores into a game or getting kids to take a bath, she's sure to have the answer to make everyone happy again.
I loved these books as a kid, and this book is just as fun now. The stories fall into a predictable pattern, but that hardly diminishes their enjoyment. Each chapter is a self-contained story, so it's easy to read just a little bit at a time. Unlike other books in the series that feature magic cures, these stories feature what I recognize now as psychology to cure the kids. The humor comes from the exaggeration of the problem and what the child goes through to get "cured." For example, the parent's fighting in the "Fighter Quarrelers Cure" or the tiny dishes in the "Slow Eater Tiny Bite Taker Cure." Heck, by the time the "Never Want to go to Bedders" are cured, they are actually begging to go to bed at their normal bedtime.
Reading the book as an adult, I got a few good laughs out of the names of the parent's friends. I also found it interesting that very few of the adults have an identity apart from their kids. Then again, as a kid's novel, it presents a kid's eye view of the world. I hope these books continue to entertain for years to come.
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on January 31, 2002
I first read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle in the forth grade, checking it and the other Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books out of my school library. I found Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle very fun to read, and really enjoyed the rest of the books as well. I recently purchased it from Amazon for my 9 year old daughter who loves to read. I took the time to re-read the book before I gave it to her, and it is interesting to read it as an adult. I still found it fun, especially the last chapter, the Fighter-Quarrelers Cure, which I had completely forgotten. (I must say, I am tempted to try the cure one of these days) My daughter seems to agree that this is a fun book, as she had two chapters read before breakfast this morning. I am looking forward to ordering the rest of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, for myself almost as much as for my daughter!
UPDATE~ My daughter finished the book in two days. She loved it and couldn't put it down until she was finished. If you have a child who is a reluctant reader, give Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle a try.
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on December 9, 1999
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was a book that I enjoyed tremendously at age 8 when it was read aloud to me by my third grade teacher. Every day the entire class looked forward to hearing another chapter describing the shennanigans of some child that was having issues that we were having at that time (ie didn't want to go to bed, didn't want to eat, didn't want to clean up your room etc...).

At 32 years of age, I once again am enjoying Betty MacDonald's creative way of capturing her audience with fun filled stories as I share them with my little one. This is a classic, along with anything by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume.
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on March 25, 1998
Remember the kid who'd never share? Who refused to take baths? Who always had a smart remark? So does Betty MacDonald, and she describes them with great humor and affection in this terrific book.
Whether you're a kid who is sick of listening to adults' constant nagging or a parent who is at the end of their rope, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is sure to make you laugh. It is the story of a lovable woman who has a knack for curing children of their bad habits, sometimes through reverse psychology and sometimes through magical remedies. Even the holiest terrors turn out to be thoroughly charming young people once Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle gets through with them.
I love this book because it gives kids credit coming up with all sorts of creative ways to drive their parents nuts (I'm sure even the saintliest of readers will recognize some of their own behavior in these chapters). Mothers are also given credit for putting up with exasperating kids, grumpy husbands, and thankless jobs like housework.
Ultimately, this story is really saying that kids use being bad as a way to have fun, while parents use discipline as a way to remain sane. Each side will probably be more sympathetic to the other after reading this book.
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on March 18, 2004
This is the last of the four Mrs Piggle-Wiggle books, but it was probably my favourite when I was little - I loved horses as a little girl, and these stories include a pony. My parents read the Mrs Piggle-Wiggle books when they were kids, and these books have been a family tradition.
The stories aren't coy about the fact that they set out to show how kids ought to behave, but they're so much fun that I don't think anyone minds that they teach a lesson. After all, who minds when Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is the teacher? These stories, unlike those in the other 3 books, are set on a farm, and teach kids about responsibilty, self-reliance, and trust. Read them if you have kids, read them if you don't have kids. Just read them!
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This review is of the HARDCOVER version of HELLO, MRS. PIGGLE-WIGGLE. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives a couple of blocks over on Vinemaple Street. Her house is a popular gathering place for school-aged children and in one story, she even hosts a meeting of the Cub Scouts. Her deceased husband was a pirate and from him, she has obtained all manner of wonderful pills and powders that help reform basically good children with troublesome habits. In one of the stories in this book a couple of her Leadership Pills help reform neighborhood bullies; she opines that bullies are generally children whose bodies have grown ahead of their personalities and the pills help even things out. In another, a delicious candy stick helps reform whispering girls of their gossipy habits and in so doing, their snobbishness toward a hardworking but poor and needy girl. Are these stories period pieces? Well, the mothers always seem to be home making wonderful treats like chocolate cake and the fathers are surprisingly easy-going once they have been cured of their workaday crankiness with a good meal. Despite the magic pills and powders, the basic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle strategy of giving ornery kids a taste of their own medicine that was developed in the first two books still holds true. Parents might be interested to know that the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories were developed by Betty MacDonald (THE EGG AND I; ONIONS IN THE STEW) and some of her sly adult outlook makes it into these stories, too. I made a point of buying, used, the hardcopy volume with its wonderful Hilary Knight (illustrator for ELOISE) drawings. I cannot vouch for later paperbacks. Curiously, the listing for this hardbound edition PICTURES Hilary Knight as illustrator but LISTS another illustrator. I believe this discrepancy has already been pointed out to Amazon. At any rate, these are fun stories and children and grownups continue to enjoy them.
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on September 26, 2003
I am 35 years old and can still remember my mother reading us these story every night. No matter how many times we heard them over and over it was the best time we spent together. I now have a daugter of my own and can't wait to read the same storys to her. I loved all the funny things she would do the kids to get them to listen to their parents.
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on February 20, 2002
From the first chapter, which introduces the character of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, you will wish she were real. It's not just her cleverness with children, it's her rapport with them. She admits that adults make her nervous, and she has little use for adult conventions. Children understand immediately that she is on their side.
She is therefore free to "cure" them of traits that parents might not like, but that their fellow children do not like either: selfishness, rudeness, showing off, and lying, for example. Her "cures" are mostly exercises in reverse psychology, and almost always challenge the parents' assumptions as well.
This is a book of short stories, and the first in a series of four books. You may as well get all four now, because you and the children you read to will not be able to get enough.
Each story takes about twenty minutes to read out loud, and that is the way these stories are meant to be shared (MacDonald wrote them to read aloud to her daughter). Children and adults will laugh, gasp, and nod knowingly at the same points.
The stories have become code-words for managing our household: we all know immediately what the issue is when one of us says, "Aha! An I-Thought-You-Saider." Or "A What'll-I-Doer." Or the ever-popular, "Don't-Want-To-Go-To-Bedder."
In my childhood in the early 1960s, these books were reserved for babysitters to read to us, the result being that we WANTED our parents to go out.
I suggest that you preview each story before using it for a read-aloud session. The values are sometimes out-of-date, and though I think they are harmless, or can easily be handled by supplementary discussion, they might make you uncomfortable. That sounds like a heavy warning, but I do not mean it to be. Just have fun!
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