Did you read the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books growing up? You must have since the first book came out in 1947! They were always one of my favorites, probably because I like obeying rules and it was funny to see what would happen to kids who didn’t obey the rules. I’m probably a monster.
Anyway, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (maybe they should update her name to Ms. Piggle-Wiggle? For all kids books they should do that, to set a good example!) comes up with funny and delightful cures to fix all kinds of bad behaviors in children. And in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic, she comes up with a cure for bad table manners.
This story involves a little boy named Christopher Brown who eats like a wild animal. His parents have tried to teach him better but their instructions fall on deaf ears. His mother is particularly worried that he will soon be invited to dinner at friends’ houses and embarrass her horribly. His bad table manners are defined as:
- Chewing with his mouth open
- Smacking his lips
- Gulping audibly
- Making piles of food on his fork and then sticking it straight down his throat
- Buttering whole slices of bread on his hand (!!!! this story is old enough, 1949, that most people still knew that you should tear bread into pieces and butter them individually)
- Mixing his food up until it looks like dog food
- Drinking his soup from the bowl
- Gesturing with his fork until food flies off
So basically, pretty bad! Enter Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
See, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a pig named Lester who has beautiful table manners and she lends him to Mrs. Brown to teach Christopher some manners. During the next few days, Lester provides a good example of table manners to Christopher and gently corrects him when he is being boorish. However, Mr. and Mrs. Brown are a bit rude to poor Lester. Mr. Brown throws his bedding into the laundry shoot and makes oink oink noises at him. And Mrs. Brown serves pork for dinner! And then she doesn’t learn ANYTHING and serves bacon for breakfast! I mean, REALLY!
But fortunately, all of Lester’s teachings paid off and Christopher went off to his first dinner party with such polite manners that the hostess called his mother to compliment him the next day.
Now if only we could all have a magical pig to teach manners!