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Betty MacDonald Books In Order

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Publication Order of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Books

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic (1949)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Memoirs Books

Anybody Can Do Anything (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Egg and I (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Plague and I (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
Onions in the Stew (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Who, Me? (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Nancy and Plum (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Get Out of My Crotch(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jew-ish: True Stories of Love, Latkes, and L'chaim(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Betty MacDonald is a bestselling children’s books novelist born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard. She was born in Boulder Colorado but her family moved to Capitol Hill in Seattle in 1918 before they settled in Roosevelt in 1922.

MacDonald would graduate from Roosevelt High School in 1924 and would get married three years later aged only twenty years. With her husband Robert Eugene Heskett the two would live on the Olympic Peninsula at a chicken farm near Port Townsend.

In 1931 she left Heskett and went back to Seattle where she was forced to work all manner of jobs to support Joan and Anne, her two daughters since she did not have any contact with her husband after their divorce. Betty would spend nearly a year in hospital where he was treated for Tuberculosis before she was released.

In 1942 she got married to Donald C Macdonald from whom she took her writing name. The two would then move to Vashon Island from where she penned most of her bestselling novels. The family would ultimately move to Carmel Valley in California in 1956.

MacDonald made waves with her very first novel “The Egg and I” that would be translated into more than 20 languages and become a bestselling title. The novel was based on her life living at a chicken farm in Chimacum Valley.

It was in this novel that she introduced Ma and Pa Kettle that would go on to become one of the most popular of her characters. They would be so popular that it was not long before production companies approached Betty and turned the series into several films featuring the eponymous duo.

In the 1947 version of the adaptation, MacDonald was enacted by Claudete Colbert. Given that studio executives did not want to publicise her divorce in the public consciousness, the character of her husband made it into the book played by Fred MacMurray.
Even though the novel was popular and garnered critical acclaim when it was published in the 1970s, it received some criticism for how it stereotyped the Native American demographic. It also led to the perception that Washington is full of country bumpkins such as Pa and Ma Kettle.

In addition to her novels, Betty MacDonald is the publisher of three memoir works . “Anybody Can Do Anything” recounts her life during the Depression, and how much of a struggle it was to find work.
“The Plague and I” is a description of the time she spent at a tuberculosis sanitarium for nine months. “Onions in the Stew” chronicles her life and times living on Vashon Island, where she lived with her husband and daughter during World War II.
She is also the author of the popular “Nancy and Plum” and the “Mrs Piggle-Wiggle” series of children’s fiction. MacDonald died of uterine cancer in 1958 while living in Seattle.

“Mrs Piggle-Wiggle” by Betty MacDonald is a cute little book that introduces the kind and clever Mrs Piggle-Wiggle. The novels provide a fascinating look into life during the Donna Reed period.

At this time, most mothers used to stay at home making ginger bread and pot roasts for their children while the fathers worked at an office and came home to read the paper and smoke pipes while having supper. The girls would wear white socks and dresses and the boys wore ironed jeans and sweaters.
But while these are old novels, the problems that mothers in the stories call Mrs Piggle Wiggle to help them with are similar to what modern mothers still face. Your everyday children still portray the same constant bickering, selfishness, picky eating, and not picking up their toys.
Every time you read these novels to your kids you get a reminder of how good these were given how enjoyable they still are to this day.

“Mrs Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic” by Betty MacDonald continues to follow the eccentric and energetic widow who specializes in curing the bad habits of children.
Parents usually call her up to help cure children that pretend not to hear or mishear what they are told, those that do not want to go to school, interrupters and tattle tales among other trouble makers.

MacDonald comically exaggerates the faults of the children, for instance one child who has the habit of breaking things is told by her father that he would like to keep her for another dozen years but he cannot afford it. The father goes as far as calculating how many cups she would break a year multiplied by twelve years.

Mrs Piggle-Wiggle makes use of a variety of magic potions to try to cure the many faults of the children. The children usually return to normal within a few days after taking the potion.

The two standout chapters in the novel were “The Bad Table-Manners Cure” and “The Never-Want-to-go-to-Schooler.”

Betty MacDonald’s “Mrs Piggle-Wiggle’s Farm” has five cute stories which makes it possible to develop the characters and their families into interesting and distinct personalities.

MacDonald dedicates a lot of time developing the characters including the kids that you come to care about them. While the kids can do frustrating things none of them are bad and are just being kids.

In this outing, there is no magic powder or any voodoo psychology as Mrs Piggle-Wiggle lets the troublesome children spend some time on her farm for a while learning personal responsibility, taking care of animals and slowly they start dealing with their problems.

It is not so easy to tell if there is some manipulation of the children by Mrs Piggle Wiggle though she does make things happen. She deliberately locks one of the children out of the house to show her how bad it is to be forgotten and hungry.

One thing I really liked is when she tried to teach bravery to Phoebe by pretending that her foot was trapped under an apple barrel in the cellar. The only fantasy element in the novel is Penelope the talking parrot who appeared in previous novels as a sour voice mimic that sang to shame the children to behave better.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Betty MacDonald

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