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Notes for the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald

     I picked up Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald at a yard sale, and I found it enchanting and educational for children, and informative for me. As the name "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" suggests, the books are humorous. Primary school children probably find them enjoyable to listen to, or to read themselves. (The book covers indicate that they are for "Ages 6 to 10.") The stories are educational, not only in the sense of learning to read better, but also in that they concern how to behave. The stories in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle include "The Won't-Pick-Up Toys Cure," "The Answer-Backer Cure," "The Selfishness Cure," "The Radish Cure," "The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure," "The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure," and "The Fighter-Quarrelers Cure." 
     There is an interesting formulaic plot structure to most of these stories that children may appreciate. Almost every story begins with children misbehaving in some way. Mommy usually is upset. (Daddy is usually out of it.) Mommy calls two or three mommies of other children to see if they are having the same problem. Finally one of them suggests that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle be called. She is, and she offers a solution, a solution that aways works. Don't ask me why, but in reading some of the later stories, this plot structure brought smiles of recognition to my face. It will probably have the same effect on many children.
     The books are available at

From Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Exercise # 2 AK G4 L1.3
Exercise # 4 AK G4 L1.2

     Exercise # 1 was deleted
     Exercise # 2 examines the arrangement of S/V/C patterns in questions.
     Exercise # 3 was deleted
     Exercise # 4, part of a description (characterization) of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, will be very difficult for fourth graders, but it won't hurt them to try it. After they do so, ask them to write a description of someone they know. As in this text, ask the students to include both physical characteristics and examples of what the person typically does.