A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure, by Ann M. Martin (Rain Reign), is a new addition to the old Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald, first published in 1947. Those books retain their charm and feature Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, who devises unorthodox ways to address kids' behavior issues. This update introduces her great-niece Missy, who does the same. Since Missy sometimes uses potions and pills, parents might have a conversation with their kids about not relying on pills to correct problems or accepting drugs from others. The new book's author, Martin, brings just the right magical touch, in conjunction with MacDonald's great-granddaughter Annie Parnell. Captivating illustrations by Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl) introduce readers to the quirky, wild-haired Missy.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In MISSY PIGGLE-WIGGLE AND THE WHATEVER CURE, Missy Piggle-Wiggle is summoned by her great-aunt, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, to tend the house and pets while the aunt goes in search of her pirate husband. Missy, who's magic, unlocks a cabinet of potions she made when she was growing up and puts them to use helping the neighborhood kids with their behavior. She comes up with "cures" for mild behavior problems such as being tardy, saying "Whatever," and smacking gum. The cures are offbeat. The tardy girl gets a watch with a deafening alarm, and the gum smacker gets a gumball that tastes like a dirty sponge. Before the story's over, Missy even helps some workaholic parents check their own dysfunctional behavior.
Is it any good?
Readers are in excellent hands with this redo of a classic series that updates the books for a new generation while preserving the charm, humor, and warmth of the originals. Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure author Ann M. Martin brings to the project her expertise with series (The Baby-Sitters Club) as well as a deft literary touch. The new book's magical, full of the sort of potions that will excite Harry Potter readers, and it's told in prose so charming and inviting that kids won't care that the stories make fun of their annoying behaviors. The very silly names like Beaufort Crumpet and Edison Tickle clue readers in they're meant to laugh at themselves.
There's also a sweet bit of romance. When the touchingly awkward bookstore owner, Harold Spectacle, meets Missy, "A shower of sparks glittered briefly in the air and sputtered out." Readers may feel the same magic sparks when introduced to Missy and this delightful new addition to the series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure compares with the books in the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. Have you read any of the originals? How's this book similar? How's it different?
Do you have any of the behaviors that get cured in the book? Do they bother you or affect your friends or family? Have you ever tried to change them?
What do you think about Missy helping grown-ups with their behavior, too? What behavior problems do you notice among grown-ups?
- Authors: Ann M. Martin, Annie Parnell
- Illustrator: Ben Hatke
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: September 6, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 11
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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