Prather’s Pick: ‘Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won’t-Walk-the-Dog-Cure’ and imaginative, humorous book
Imagination is a wonderful thing, and this week’s book for young adults has been crafted using not only creative ideas, but wacky ones, as well. “Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won’t-Walk-the-Dog-Cure” is a spin-off on the “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” books written more than 70 years ago by Betty MacDonald.
This week’s book is the second in a follow-up series. The first was “Missy-Piggle Wiggle and the Whatever Cure.” This contemporary series is written by Ann M. Martin, with Annie Parnell, Betty MacDonald’s great granddaughter. The artwork was created by Ben Hatke.
Missy Piggle-Wiggle lives in Little Spring Valley, not far from downtown shops and a school. To get to her house (which really belongs to Auntie Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle), a person walks along Juniper Street, the main street in town, past all the shops, then turns left at the General Store. The house is just a little way from there. There’s no way to miss the house, because it is unusual, indeed.
Missy’s aunt had always wanted to live in an upside-down house, so when she became Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, her husband, Mr. Piggle-Wiggle, had the house built for her. (You see what I mean by “wacky”—I’m even having trouble typing “Piggle-Wiggle” over and over.)
So, a passerby would have no trouble identifying the “Upside-Down House.” The house’s top part is partially buried in the ground, and the bottom part is way up in the air. The ceilings are the floors, and the floors are the ceilings, and chandeliers poke out from the bottom part of the house. The windows open from the top, and sometimes, the furniture floats overhead. The Upside-Down House has a personality, too, and can be temperamental. The window shades sometimes “flick up” in response to “good morning.”
Missy Piggle-Wiggle lives in the house now, since her aunt has gone off in search of Mr. Piggle-Wiggle, a pirate. She lives there with Wag, the dog; Penelope, the parrot; Lester; the pig (who brings Missy coffee in the morning); and Lightfoot, the cat. There are lots of animals in the barnyard, too, including Warren, a gander and his wife Evelyn Goose; Martha and Millard Mallard; Trotsky, the horse; and Heather, the cow.
Over the years, the town’s children — who all have unusual names — have visited the Upside-Down House. (Imagine having names such as Veronica Cupcake or Tulip Goodenough.) Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was well-known for ridding children of unwanted habits that drove their parents crazy, such as the “I-Never-Said-it is” of Georgie Pepperpot. The cures involved magic potions. It turns out Missy knows all about the potions, too, so now, parents turn to her for help.
For example, there’s Egmont Dolittle, who begs his parents for a pet (begs, begs and begs, 50 times over) and promises to take care of it. But, when they let him have a dog, guess what happens? Missy gives the dog a potion which allows him to walk upright and talk, and she instructs the dog to take care of Egmont. Guess what happens? This is the “Won’t Walk-the-Dog Cure” part of the book’s title.
One day, Missy takes some of the town’s children on a picnic. A storm comes up, and they all have to take cover in the house basement (which is really the attic). The storm does lots of damage to the house, and now, Missy has to worry about money. Can she find a silver key or will she have to cash in Mr.Piggle-Wiggle’s gold doubloons?
The book is filled with wacky fun, which will have young adults giggling at every turn of the page. The book is published by Feiwel and Friends, 2017 and costs $16.99 in hardcover. You can also find it with new books at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
Some years we finish up the calving season with one or two bottle calves here at Pipi’s Pasture; some years we don’t have any. The “not any” years are lucky years because feeding a bottle calf is an expensive business, and it means an extra chore, too.