One of my most vivid memories from kindergarten is reading Mrs. Wishy-Washy aloud in a chorus with my teacher and classmates. I delighted in calling out, "Along came Mrs. Wishy-Washy," and to this day there is just something thoroughly satisfying about the phrase, "Oh, lovely mud!" Today, I am promoting Hameray Publishing's Wishy-Washy 2014 Contest, and I want to share the reasons I loved Mrs. Wishy-Washy at age five, and still love her to this day.
- Mrs. Wishy-Washy has the perfect name. It's doubly alliterative, fun to say, and it tells the reader exactly what the character is interested in and concerned about.
- Mrs. Wishy-Washy is a lovable grump. Though she is strict with the animals and often stands disapprovingly with her hands on her hips, there is also a hint of affection in her tone of voice and her demeanor. Kids can relate to both her desire to keep the animals clean and to their need to defy her in order to play in the mud. I also think her pink slippers go a long way toward softening her supposedly stern persona.
- The Mrs. Wishy-Washy books build upon familiar concepts in a fun way. Kids feel comfortable in Mrs. Wishy-Washy's world because they have already learned about farm animals as toddlers. They don't feel like babies, however, because these stories use those animals in a more sophisticated way that suits the five-year-old sense of humor. The moment at the end of the original Mrs. Wishy-Washy where the animals all jump back into the mud the exact kind of thing that gives kindergartners the giggles because they don't see it coming.
- Mrs. Wishy-Washy and its many sequels provide many possibilities for classroom and library use. Mrs. Wishy-Washy can easily support common classroom and story time themes such as bathing, farm animals, mud, and the letter W. This is especially wonderful because kids who have grown attached to the character can stick with her even as they continue to learn new things.
- Lastly, I like the original Mrs. Wishy-Washy because it is endlessly adaptable. In story time, I can just read the story straight through, or I can tell it from memory using puppets or flannel board pieces. Kids can also easily tell and retell the story themselves, which helps build their narrative skills. There are also tons of crafts, writing activities, displays, bulletin boards and other creative ideas all over the internet that extend the reading experience beyond the story.
In celebration of Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Hameray Publishing Group is giving away lots of books and a set of finger puppets. Information about the contest can be found by clicking here, or by reading and clicking on the image below.
To learn more, you can visit Hameray Publishing and Mrs. Wishy-Washy on these social media sites: