Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the title of a series of books by Betty MacDonald. The first book in this series is called Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and sequels include, in publication order, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm, Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series stars a small lady who lives in an "upside-down" house in a lively neighborhood inhabited mainly by children who have bad habits.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a chest full of magical cures left to her by her deceased husband, Mr. Piggle-Wiggle, who was a pirate. Whenever a parent has a problem with their child/children's bad habits, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle gives them a special cure. Cures range from the fairly mundane, (the Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure involves not requiring a small boy to pick up his toys for several weeks until he's unable to escape from his room) to the fantastic (the Interrupting Cure is a special powder that is blown on the interrupter, with the effect that it causes the person to become temporarily mute every time he/she tries to interrupt someone).
In the series' third book, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle sells her house in town and moves to a farm, where she continues to help children over come their bad habits with the assistance of a large assortment of animals. In the fourth book, she has apparently returned to her original house, and no mention of the farm is made for the rest of the series.
The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories were based on bedtime stories Betty made up for her daughters, nephews, and nieces (and later grandchildren and grandnephews/-nieces). Some of the 151 children have the same names as members of the original audience (for example, there is a pair of brothers called Darcie and Bard). This explains some of the inconsistencies, such as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle being either a good witch/fairy or just someone who understands child psychology better than most professors of the subject.
In 1996 Betty MacDonald's family had been interviewed by journalist Wolfgang Hampel. Especially Betty MacDonald's youngest sister Alison Bard had a perfect memory and told very funny stories about the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Stories. Alison Bard and her family has been mentioned in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic. This interview has been published on CD/DVD in 2009.
The final book in the series, published fifty years after the original, is largely written by MacDonald's daughter, Anne MacDonald Canham (the two share a writing credit for this book). The first story in the book is an unpublished MacDonald story, while Anne explains in the book that the remaining stories are based on "notes for other stories among her mother's possessions."
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic, and Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle are illustrated by Hilary Knight. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm is illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is illustrated by Alexandra Boiger.
|Chapter Title||Main Character(s)||Problem/Misbehavior||Cure Employed||Other Children Introduced|
|Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Herself||Mary Lou Robertson, Kitty Wheeling||hates washing dishes (Mary Lou), hates making beds (Kitty)||makes both tasks a fun game and a race||Bobby Wheeling, Dicky Williams, Max|
|The Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure||Hubert Prentiss||won't pick up his toys||left alone with his toys until he is unable to leave his room||Charlie, Billy Peters, Tommy Peters, Ermintrude Bags, Gregory Moohead, Susan Grapple|
|The Answer-Backer Cure||Molly O'Toole (mostly called Mary in this book, renamed to Molly subsequently||impudence||Penelope the parrot is equally rude, giving her a taste of her own medicine||Calliope Ragbag, Chuckie Keystop, Garry Garrison|
|The Selfishness Cure||Dick Thompson||won't share anything||the "Selfishness Kit" labels everything as Dick's property, causing him embarrassment and ridicule||Bobby Slater, Kenny Hatch|
|The Radish Cure||Patsy Waters||won't take baths||left alone so she is caked with dirt, then radishes are planted on her||Prunella Brown, Paraphernalia Grotto, Cormorant Broomrack|
|The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure||Bobby Gray, Larry Gray, Susan Gray||don't want to go to bed||allowed to stay up late until they are so tired that they can't function during the day||Catherine Grassfeather, Wilfred Grassfeather, Worthington Gardenfield, Guinevere Gardenfield|
|The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure||Allen||picky eater||Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Dishes serve him increasingly small portions until he lacks energy to function||Wetherill Crankminor, Pergola Wingsproggle|
|The Fighter-Quarrelers Cure||Anne Russell, Joan Russell||bickering||parents mimic the fighting of the children, who get to see how unpleasant it is||Jasper Quitrick, Myrtle Quitrick|
|Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic|
|Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic||--||--||--||Marilyn Matson, Johnny Wilfred, Julie Ward, Johnny Green|
|The Thought-You-Saiders Cure||Darsie Burbank, Alison Burbank, Bard Burbank||deliberately misinterpreting others as a joke||powder makes hearing super-sensitive when sprinkled in the ear||Terry Teagle, Theresa Teagle|
|The Tattletale Cure||Wendy Hamilton, Timmy Hamilton||tattling||pills convert tattletales into puffs of smoke with tails||Marty Phillips|
|The Bad-Table-Manners Cure||Christopher Brown||bad table manners||Lester the pig demonstrates beautiful table manners||Percy Penzil, Pamela Penzil, Potter Penzil|
|The Interrupters||Benji Franklin, Sally Franklin, Stevie Franklin||interrupting||Interrupter Powder takes away the voice of someone who interrupts||--|
|The Heedless Breaker||Sharon Rogers||carelessness and clumsiness||powder slows down bodily movement||--|
|The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Schooler||Jody Jones||truancy||Ignorance Tonic induces stupidity, causing him to desire knowledge||Jan Jones, Julie Jones, Linda Jones, Armand Armadillo|
|The Waddle-I-Doers||Lee Wharton, Mimi Wharton||boredom||a treasure hunt||--; this story includes most of the children from the first two books|
|Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm|
|The Not Truthful Cure||Fetlock Harroway||lying||Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's animals ensure that there is no need to lie in order to impress||Wembley Rustad, Winifred Feathering, Williver Mallett|
|The Pet Forgetter Cure||Rebecca Rolfe||forgets to take care of pets||Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle "forgets" to feed her and locks her out, so she knows how it feels||Cedric Bent-Smith, Eunice Hendricks|
|The Destructiveness Cure||Jeffie Phillips||takes things apart and can't reassemble them||everything he takes apart brings him more work, prompting him to learn how to fix things||Billy Robinson, Donnie Harpoon, Wickie Rockstall, Electra Rockstall|
|The Fraidy-Cat Cure||Phoebe Jackstraw||irrational fear||an emergency helps her overcome her fear and find inner strength||Jeremy Jackstraw, Chuckie Jackstraw, Georgie Jackstraw, Imogene Haversack, Shirley Melancholy, Kathy Melancholy|
|The Can't Find It Cure||Morton Heatherwick||easily distracted||shamed into focusing when his help is needed||Enterprise Beecham|
|Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle|
|The Show-Off Cure||Phillip Carmody||showing off||Show-off Powder makes him invisible when showing off||Connie Carmody, Bobby Westover, Billy Markle|
|The Crybaby Cure||Melody Foxglove||excessive crying||Crybaby Tonic makes her unable to stop her tears when crying||Cornell Foxglove, Harvard Foxglove, Emmy Foxglove, Trent Popsickle, Tansy Popsickle, Betsy Wilt|
|The Bully||Nicholas Semicolon||cruelty to younger children and animals||Leadership Pills bring out leadership qualities (Bullybaths, which weaken the bather so they can be pushed around, are rejected in favor of these)||Roscoe Eager, Billy MacIntosh, Sylvia Crouch, Jimmy Gopher, Priscilla Wick, the Adams twins|
|The Whisperer||Evelyn Rover, Mary Crackle, Cornelia Whitehouse||gossipy whispering||Whisper Sticks take away the voice||Karen Elroyd, Bobby Crackle, Billy Crackle, Corinthian Bop|
|The Slowpoke||Harbin Quadrangle||daydreaming||spray makes him extremely alert and focused||Sylvia Quadrangle, Janey Quadrangle, Annabell, Mona, Kathy, Georgie Wilcox|
|Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle|
|The Just-One-More-TV-Show Cure||Kitten Hanover, Sean Hanover||addiction to television||aversion technique (forcing them to watch until they resist it)||Robin Waxbean, Lark Waxbean, Honor Hatchet, Honesty Hatchet, Henry Fence, Billy Ragweed|
|The Won't-Brush-Teeth Cure||Betsy Applebee||brushing her teeth is unimportant||Wag the dog demonstrates proper tooth brushing||Ellen, Rose Thorngate, Jasmine Thorngate, Jervil Thorngate Jr.|
|The Insult Cure||Blake Branson||cruelty to others||insults written on paper glow blindingly in the dark of his bedroom||Percival Goodwin, Prissy Goodwin, Candace Goodwin|
|The Picky-Eater Cure||Will Pemberton||picky eating||crystals transform any food into white noodles||Ariel Wingstaff, Finch Wingstaff|
|The Afraid-to-Try Cure||Jonathan Campbell||overly cautious||rescuing Lightfoot the cat from a tree helps him overcome his timidity||George O'Connor, Timmy O'Connor, Ricky Timbers, Woody Timbers|
|The Messy Stuff-and-Cram Cure||Katy McCloud||messiness||invisible paint around her room prevents her from moving until every area is neat||Prunella Peasley, Quinton Peasley|
|The Never-Finish Cure||Janie Beaumont||inability to complete one task before moving on to another||powder makes her unable to move to another task until she finishes the current one||Christie Anne McClanahan, Carrie Philpot, Larry Philpot|
|Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Birthday Party||--||--||--||Matt McGregor, Kevin McGregor; this story also includes children from all five books|