Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure
by Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell
Illustrated by Ben Hatke
Feiwel and Friends, 2016
This is an continuation of the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series from the 1940s and 50s. Annie Parnell is Betty MacDonald's great granddaughter, and Ann M. Martin is perhaps best known for her novels in The Baby-Sitters Club series. Together, they are hoping to reintroduce Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to a new generation.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has had to rush off suddenly, and sends for her great-niece to take her place. Missy is more than ready to take over, having grown up learning Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's secrets and taking care of her extensive collection of pets. And upon arrival, she does exactly what Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle did -- befriends all of the children and corrects their misbehaviors, usually by means of magic.
I found the story disappointing; the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books gained their charm through their snappy, fun writing style and the fact that all the preachiness was well outdated. Missy has neither of these benefits, and takes too much time rehashing the world of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (for those who did not read the original series), too much time describing things already described, too much time on connecting the reader to how awful the children are. The flip side is that each child gets more character development, and we get to know everyone better. I suspect this is also targeted at older children, as the book is twice as long as the originals, the characters are a little more realistic, and Missy has a boyfriend.
Overall, I don't particularly recommend it. The story doesn't really capture the feel of the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and if you just want a book about magic and kids becoming a bit more mature, well, there are thousands of those, most of them a bit better. That said, it is a pleasant enough read, and it might well be more pleasing if you don't have preexisting expectations about what a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book should be like.
There are currently three novels in the series; the next one is
Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won't-Walk-The-Dog Cure.