My daughter chose Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Farm from the school’s free book bin. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle takes to her farm children whose behavior overwhelms their parents and cures them of their bad habits with magic and hard work.

When I first read the book, I thought not too highly of the parents, but in light of a having six year old pushing the boundaries of decent behavior, I admit, I would welcome Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s help!

The first boundary test came when her friends reported she kissed people on the bus. This led to a predictable discussions of germs, of personal space, andMr. Tiger Goes Wild of appropriate behavior.

Luckily, the school librarian shared a lesson using Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. When I first read this with my daughter, I focused on how everyone deserves a chance to explore their individuality, but the librarian used this book to discuss how there is a time and place for certain behaviors. This interpretation suited a discussion on keeping our bodies to ourselves.

Outcome: she keeps a “fidget” object in her bag so her hands stay occupied (thank you to her classroom teacher for that one!).

Then the real test came. While we waited in line for ice cream on Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, she browsed a candy store (as if ice cream at 10 a.m. was not enough). I could see her, but I could not see her when she stole a piece of candy. The upside: guilt won out, she came out to me and showed me the candy (unchewed) in her mouth. Without complaint, she confessed to the clerk and paid for the candy.

Outcome: hopefully her criminal life is over.

However, it made me think about how many books and movies center on the drama of pulling off a robbery or catching the crook. Her grandmother brought us some Happy Hollisters and Bobbsey Twins books. Even these innocent, dated stories where the kids always catch the bad guy send imaginations circling around being the detective and the crook. Don’t we all need a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to sort out the complexities of appropriate behavior?

But for now, here are some books on manners and appropriate behavior.


Image by Gerry Thomasen via Creative Commons.

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