Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Reading 2016 Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure


I can remember reading all the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books when I was in elementary school. I loved all the clever ways she found to cure the bad behaviors of the various kids she met. And her house was such a unique place, with the upside-down orientation and all the animals she had. So I am very pleased that Ann M. Martin (Everything for a Dog, The Babysitters Club series, The Doll People), has continued the tradition with Missy Piggle-Wiggle arriving to take care of her Auntie's house. It seems that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has decided to search for her husband, who "was called away some years ago by the pirates." So Missy is staying in the upside-down house in Little Spring Valley with all the pets and farm animals. It doesn't take long for the town's parents to begin asking Missy for the same sort of help that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is famous for. An extra-special bonus of the new book is that Ben Hatke (Zita the Space-GirlNobody Likes a Goblin), is the illustrator. 

Missy takes on cases such as Honoriah (a know-it-all), Penelope (greedy), Melody (shy), Linden (a gum smacker), and Frankfort (whatever-itis the ailment that inspired the title of the book). Sometimes the cure is a potion; other times it might be a wristwatch that makes a very loud alarm. The child with the problem might find himself stuck in a bubble or discover that the people he is trying to spy on simply disappear. No matter what the problem, Missy can figure out an answer. And the problems also include parents who have a few bad habits of their own to break. The house itself is upset with Missy for something that happened when she was just a child visiting her Auntie, and she has to do some apologizing to get House to stop making banisters disappear or jiggling the stepping stones when Missy walks across them.

Parents and teachers who have their own fond memories of Piggle-Wiggle stories should not hesitate to introduce young readers to this new version. If you have not read the earlier books, they are similar to Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee in the way that children's behavior is sorted out and nice new habits are formed. A bonus for readers is that each chapter can be read almost as a stand-alone short story, with a different child and issue tackled in each chapter. I don't mean that the book is choppy or disjointed, just that it is easy to stop at the end of a chapter and pick back up again later. Great for read-alouds or independent reading.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Check out this trailer for Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I, a new book about the author of the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories.

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