Books Your Kid Should Read

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges

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Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

26 August 2008

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
by Betty MacDonald
Illus. Hilary Knight

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the kind of old lady everyone wishes lived in their neighborhood. A kindred spirit to children everywhere, she lives in a magical upside-down house, there's buried treasure in her backyard, and her home always smells like freshly-baked cookies. The kids in her town know they'll always find a friendly face and comforting advice over at Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's place, but it's their parents who are really in her debt. You see, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a cure for just about any kind of bad habit or mischievous behavior a kid can get up to. Whether it's not wanting to bathe, staying up all hours of the night, or fighting with their siblings all the time, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle knows a clever (and enormously fun to read about) way to get it to stop. The stories are presented from a kid's perspective, meaning that the adults (with the exception of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle) often come off as amusingly dim. Each chapter is its own self-contained story, making this a perfect book for bedtime reading aloud (if you can stick to just one story, which is difficult). Though the stories are technically about behavior and etiquette, they're never moralistic or condescending. The true-to-life depictions of kids' tantrums and misbehavings, along with the highly unusual tactics recommended by Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to cure them, make a compelling read even if you don't care a whit about manners and morals. And if they get your kid to think twice before pitching a fit at bedtime, so much the better. With really excellent illustrations by Hilary Knight (of Eloise fame).

Also recommended: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic (1949), Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm (1954), and Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (1957).