Review: Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cute by Ann M. Martin with Annie Parnell and illustrated by Ben Hatke

Missy Piggle Wiggle

Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: Raincoast Books

Missy Piggle-Wiggle is based off the old beloved children’s classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty Macdonald and Alexandra Boiger who did the illustrations. Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure is illustrated by Ben Hatke. I read the first volume of the original series before I read this because I wanted to.

Really, this is the reason I read most books since I am no longer in school and no one can force me to read a book I don’t want to. Ha. FREEDOM AND LIBERTY…and I got sidetracked. Excuse me.

So as I was saying, I read the first volume of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and enjoyed it very much so. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle reminds me of an Enid Blyton character and well, I can’t speak for how much diversity and inclusion there are in her books, but they do capture that elusive scent of childhood that is very much absent in contemporary childhood and books written for today’s kids.

I enjoyed most of Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure with some exceptions. Let me talk to you about the book at length. Missy Piggle-Wiggle is the original’s niece who is called away from her life to stay in the upside-down house (the house is built upside down, peer at the cover and you’ll see it) while Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle goes hunting the seas for her errant pirate husband.

The new series intersperses magic into the narrative but keeps everything else much the same. Missy is called on by the parents in the village for their help with their naughty boisterous children. Missy provides them with interesting cures that helps the kids be rude of lateness, speak-back-ness, and other virulent forms of childhood diseases.

I didn’t think Missy’s cures were as brilliant as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s but she’s still young and has a lot to learn. I do like that Martin kept up the tradition of naming the various children and parents improbable and funny names like Mr. Hamilton Earwig.

One thing I thought Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure could have done without is the grown up romance that really has no place in the novel. It felt forced and rather contrived and really who was the romance for? I don’t see kids caring about if Missy Piggle-Wiggle ends up with the bookstore owner. Anyway, this was amusing apart from the romance and I dare say I’d pick up the second one in this new series if I see it around.

I don’t think it measures of to the original though but then, things seldom do. I do hope to see it trying to be better in the way the book tackles diversity though so we’ll see.

  • This sounds perfect for my kids. Sometimes I think middle grade books include a bit of romance because the audience is much broader than children (especially these days). I don’t mind it as long as it doesn’t take up too much of the story (and isn’t forced and contrived!).

  • Sometimes things are better than the original, but yeah, most times not so.