Name this juvenile fiction book, please.
February 28, 2007 1:44 AM   Subscribe

Another tired name-that-kid's-book-filter question: purple cover (?) paperback, crazy old lady in the neighborhood hosts kids on a rainy day. Something about an elaborate basement in her house, nothing overtly magical involved so far as I remember, but an air of "magical realism" most definitely abounds.

The only striking features I recall are the aforementioned "rainy day" setting and the feeling of "anything can happen in this kooky old lady's house" vibe. I'm sorry I don't have more to go on. This has been bugging me for literally over a decade, now. I've searched the various "name-that-book" sites to no avail. The children involved, however, are (if I recall correctly) actually excited to put in time at this older lady's house. She is childless and more than happy to host these kids, so far as the story goes. Any leads whatsoever would be awesome; the genre is almost certainly juvenile fiction, for whatever that's worth.
posted by joe lisboa to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is it one of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books? (I seem to specifically recall Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic having a lavender cover, but that was the hardback edition from about 30 years ago.)
posted by scody at 1:52 AM on February 28, 2007

That's it! Scody, you are a biblioangel. Funny how "magic" stuck in my brain, somehow.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:02 AM on February 28, 2007

aw, my pleasure. I loved 'em so much when I was a kid that I bought the whole collection for my eldest nephew when he was still a baby.
posted by scody at 2:16 AM on February 28, 2007

She taught kids, in a fun way, lessons about how to deal with chores and responsibilities that they couldn't avoid anyway. Mostly by advising their parents to make them "smoke the whole pack," eg letting the kid not clean his room until it was so cluttered he couldn't escape, then leading a parade past his window. Or letting a kid not bathe until he had encrustations of dirt, then giving his parents radish seeds to plant on him at night, which had to be panfully plucked. She was, for some reason, beloved by the children. In retrospect, I can't imagine why.
posted by lostburner at 2:46 AM on February 28, 2007

Yay! Thanks for asking this question. I read these books and loved them, but couldn't remember the name. I remember being fascinated that she lived in an upside-down house.

Now I can buy them for my nephew!
posted by trip and a half at 6:03 AM on February 28, 2007

Holy crap I was reading that description saying "That has to be Miss Piggle-Wiggle!"...and I was right. The radical upside-down house, growing plants in the girl who wouldn't wash, etc.
posted by TomMelee at 1:58 PM on February 28, 2007

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