Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fails to cure my daughter’s picky eating

(Desperate for a solution to my daughter’s picky eating, I turned to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for guidance. I am sad to report that her so-called “cure” did not work. Read on.)

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I turned to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to help me cure my picky eater. Now, I’m familiar with her schtick: she usually relies on aversion therapy, magic, or–in the case of the picky eater cure–a combination of both. Unfortunately, she failed to understand the basic psychology of the picky eater, and therefore I have serious doubts that her cure would prove successful.

The kid in this story eats a perfectly normal assortment of foods his whole life. Then one day, he turns up his nose at his old favorites. He goes so far as to accompany his distaste with gagging noises and audible “yucks.” Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, true to form, provides his mother with a magical powder that will transform all his food into boiled noodles–the only thing he agrees to eat. At first he’s delighted, but sure enough, after a few breakfasts, lunches, and dinners of nothing but boiled noodles, he sees realizes how boring his life is without a wide variety of foods. He agrees to go out with his father for pizza.

I find this unrealistic on two counts. First of all, most kids, picky ones included, will eat pizza. And most picky eaters are picky their whole lives. They don’t go from eating pad kee mao and sushi one day and nothing but boiled noodles the next. My picky eater, for example, eats boiled noodles and bread, cheese, apples, beans, and carrots. The whole problem with picky eaters is that they are perfectly happy sticking with their tried and true foods. No amount of magic powder is going to make them realize the error in their ways.

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  1. Maybe all she needs is time, Rebecca. I used to be super picky, and now I eat just about everything. When I was 7, I never thought I’d live to try brain or kidney, for example. Not that I enjoyed either of those, but I tried them!

  2. I was just thinking of buying this for my boyfriend, actually. He is 48 and still eats pizza, pasta, beans, rice, sweets, fruit, tons of juice and nightshades. That’s about it. Everything else falls into the “I don’t like it” category. He’s been a vegetarian since he was 11, because he didn’t like the meat his mom made. He says it is why he feels healthy. He pushes food around the plate and throws away most of it, even at nice restaurants.

    I hate feeling like the “nagging” mother, but it drives me crazy! I sent him an article. To give him credit, he has been trying some new foods (tiny bites of green vegetables!) since meeting me. He expanded to taking vitamins, as well!

    I guess his eating seems childish to me. I used to love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and hoped a story like that would help him laugh at himself, but who knows…

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