Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Our latest Read Aloud in my second grade classroom was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald. The second graders loved this book! In case you are not familiar with this classic children’s book, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is a rather magical neighbor who loves children. She also has a “cure” for anything that ails the children — and what we mean by things that “ail the children” are the many different kinds of negative behaviors they can try out! She has a cure for anything and everything, and her cures are delightful lessons for children.

With wonderful humor, Betty MacDonald tells story after story of how parents call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle asking her to please cure their child of some annoying behavior. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle devises a very clever cure, and within a very short time, the child’s behavior changes. Some examples of the cures are: the Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker cure; the Answer-Backer Cure; the Selfishness Cure; and the Never-Want-to-go-to-Bedder cure. The book was written in 1947, so some of the details in the stories are a bit “old fashioned” now — a father comes home and listens to the radio … there are no TVs or computers.

After we finished the book, the students and I talked about these cures, and they decided they wanted to write some of their own. Just to show that Betty MacDonald’s ideas about children are timeless, here are some of the “cures” my second graders invented and wrote about.

The Throw-Away-Everything Cure
The Too-Much-Candy Cure
The Big-Mouth Cure
The Sucking-Your-Thumb Cure
The Biter-Fingernail Cure
The Don’t-Yell-Out Cure
The Watching-Too-Much-TV Cure

And here’s the beginning of one of my student’s stories…

8 thoughts on “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

  1. Kristen M.

    I LOVED Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when I was a kid. I’m so glad to hear that someone is still reading her cheeky little anecdotes to kids!


  2. Alissa

    I was a huge Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan as well. I remember the hilarious “I-Thought-You-Saids” cure. I think I must haver read that one at least a dozen times.

    By the way my parents definitely need the cure that one of your students thought up. When I leave their house I always have a bag of recyclables that I have rescued from their trash.


  3. Robin

    Kristen M., I don’t remember reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when I was growing up. I didn’t discover her until I started teaching. How could I have missed her in childhood???

    Alissa, the kids in my class absolutely loved this book, and I hope they’ll remember it fondly when they get older. And unfortunately your parents aren’t alone in their need for that cure!


  4. Nan

    I love Mrs P-W and re-read her a few years ago. I was still delighted. I’ve been meaning to read her nonfiction for ages. And how great that a child that young is thinking about recycling. It’s simply a part of life now and it makes me so happy. We used to have to travel 20 miles just to find a place that would take glass bottles many years back.


  5. Kim

    I remember going to the school library and checking out one Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book after another. I loved reading them to my kids, her no nonsense but loving manner is wonderful! We followed it with Mary Poppins.


  6. Petunia

    The chapter where good manners were taught by a pig was one that stuck with me. And the girl so dirty she actually grew radishes on her skin. And the upside-down house. And her pirate husband who buried his treasure somewhere in the house. Great memories!


  7. Robin

    Nan, I enjoyed reading The Egg and I, especially because it was a local story. But it was also full of her humor. I was delighted with my students’ response to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle this year. It really sparked their imaginations.

    Kim, that’s what I love about Mrs. PW, too! … “Her no nonsense but loving manner…”

    Petunia, my students loved the Radish Cure, partly I think because we’re doing some gardening projects this year!


  8. Bybee

    My favorite PW story was the kid who was a giant slob and wouldn’t pick up his room. Mrs. PW told his mom to stop picking up after him and stop nagging him. He found himself in a bit of a Collyer situation when he wanted to go play with his friends and couldn’t get out of his messy room…

    I’ve been on the lookout for MacDonald books: The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Onions In The Stew.



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