by Ann M. Martin
First sentence: “The most wonderful thing about the town of Little Spring Valley was not its magic shop, and not the fact that one day a hot-air balloon had appeared as if from nowhere and no one ever knew where it had come from, and not even the fact that the children could play outside and run all up and down the streets willy-nilly without their parents hovering over them.”
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Review copy snagged off the ARC piles at my place of employment.
Content: There’s nothing to cause concern. Lots of illustrations, short chapters (they’re kind of like connected short stories). It’d made a great read-aloud as well. It’s in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore.
I never read the Mrs Piggle-Wiggle books, but I did have a couple of girls who were into them. C, if I remember right, especially loved them. So, while I was familiar with the whole concept, I hadn’t actually read them before.
In this one, Mrs Piggle-Wiggle is off to find her husband (she had a husband?) who was called away “some years ago” by pirates. Not wanting to leave the children of Little Spring Valley without some sort of positive influence (because heaven knows they need it!), she writes to her niece, Missy, to come and stay at the upside-down house and help guide these wayward children to a much happier life.
(I shouldn’t let sarcasm seep through. The Piggle-Wiggles would disapprove.)
The chapters, after the introduction, go basically like this: there is a child who has a “problem” that needs to be fixed. The parents, at their wits’ end, go to Missy who gives the kid some sort of magical solution, which exacerbates the problem, which, in turn, solves it. As an adult, I found it super didactic, but that’s just me. I’m sure that there are tons of kids who would find the solutions hilarious (I think they were meant to be…) and maybe even a few who could learn from it. (I, personally, got tired of the perfect LaCarte kids and wanted there to be something wrong with them.)
It wasn’t a bad book. Just maybe not one for grown-ups.