Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
A book review for parents
This humor book in the "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" series by Betty MacDonald and Anne MacDonald Canham is published by HarperCollins Publishers.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Part Mary Poppins and part super nanny, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle never fails to calm frazzled parents and cure their children of annoying behavioral problems. Each chapter is a stand-alone story in which a child acts up, a mom reaches her boiling point and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle saves the day. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle helps kids overcome TV addictions and aversions to brushing their teeth. She also alleviates bad habits such as messiness, picky eating and insulting others. In the final chapter, the kids throw her a surprise birthday party. Detailed black-and-white sketches comically depict the children in the throes of their disciplinary dilemmas.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, always available when the neighbors call for help, expels bad behavior effortlessly with a mix of reverse psychology and magic concoctions. She loves the neighborhood children and frequently has them to her house to play or work on projects after school. Most parents in the book who haven't sought Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's help seem to be at the mercy of their youngsters, unable to keep them from misbehaving. One couple, never having met Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, agree to turn their children over to her for a weekend so she can cure their kids' TV addiction.
Other Belief Systems
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s treatment methods generally involve magic. She dispenses such items as invisible paint, accomplishment powder and a seasoning that turns any food into noodles. Sometimes Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's talking pets help, too.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- If you could have Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle solve one of your problems, what would you want her to help you with?
- Did any of these stories remind you of a problem you used to or still have?
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle had some creative problem-solving ideas, but she also had to use magic to get the job done.
How would you have helped the kids in the book overcome their problems without using special powers or potions?
- What suggestions or tips would you give to the kids or their parents?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.