Emily's Reviews > Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm by Betty MacDonald
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May 10, 10

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bookshelves: second-childhood, read-aloud
Read from May 06 to 09, 2010

Oh what a broad range of reaction is to be found in a three star review. A casual observer might think that I liked the first three Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books equally. How wrong that observer would be. The first one was squarely in the middle of the spectrum. Truly, I "liked it", no more no less. The second one was a high three. I quite enjoyed reading it aloud, but as it isn't something I would ever pick up and reread to myself for pleasure, it couldn't quite make the leap across the 4-star divide. This one, sadly, is a low three. Only the fact that my son was still as enthusiastic as ever about the series during the course of the book has saved it from the ignominy of a two.

As a few other reviewers have noted, this book, while as long as the others, only has five chapters whereas the others have eight, suggesting that Betty MacDonald was running out of ideas and stretching those that she had thin, and adding lots of padding. In the first chapter, about Mrs. Harroway and her story-telling son, the book opens with ten pages of Mrs. Harroway gardening, being excited and nervous about an invitation to join an exclusive ladies club, and then going to her first luncheon with the club all got out in her pink gloves, only to have the lunch turn into a social disaster. My son got restless. So did I.

Also, in this book, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has moved out into the country and is living on a farm. This means that in every case, the cure consists simply of sending each child to live with her, for as long as a month. Although there is a certain charm to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's barn yard menagerie, this made the book even more repetitive than its predecessors. The wholesome chores and matter of fact country living work wonders on neurotic children, à la Understood Betsy. I hope that in the next book she is back in her upside down house.
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Emily I'm impressed that you have been so diligent about continuing with this series!

Can't take any credit for diligence, I'm afraid. It's all due to my son being really, really, insistent about starting the next one immediately. He loves this series-- it actually has been our first truly successful chapter book read aloud experience.


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