Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure

with Annie Parnell. illus. by Ben Hatke. 242p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250071699.
Gr 2–5—In the classic "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" series, the title character "cured" children of annoying habits without belittling them. By helping the children see how others were affected by their behavior, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle taught empathy in a humorous manner. The tradition lives on in Missy, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's red-headed great-niece. Having spent time with her aunt as a child, Missy learned to make magic potions and spells. She also absorbed her aunt's kind approach to child psychology. Called to take care of the upside-down house and pets while Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is away, Missy must form her own relationships with the inhabitants of Little Spring Valley. The initial exposition drags a bit. In an attempt to bridge the new book with the old, three chapters are devoted to Missy's arrival and her introduction to the town. The pace picks up when the cures begin. Parents are concerned about greediness, tardiness, and procrastination. They would like their children to stop being spies, know-it-alls, and gum-smackers. With thoughtfulness and patience as well as magic gumdrops, bubbles, and a noisy watch, Missy helps improve the situations. Martin adds depth to the story by using one family, the Freeforalls, as a unifying thread throughout the narrative. Work-focused Mr. and Mrs. Freeforall need some Piggle-Wiggle assistance as much as their three children do. Although modernized in many ways, the tale, like its predecessors, relies on the premise of a small, mostly white town where parents let their children roam freely during the day. Hatke ("Zita the Spacegirl"; Julia's House for Lost Creatures; Little Robot) provides charming cover and black-and-white interior illustrations.
VERDICT A fun family read-aloud, this version will win new fans without alienating devotees of the original series.

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