Most likely if you are an early childhood teacher you have met Mrs. Wishy Washy. The large, New Zealand farm wife who spends most of her time chasing around a dog, a pig, a cow and a duck trying to bath them. The books were written by Joy Cowley for beginning readers. Some are super-simple with repetitive text and some are more complicated. They are perfectly scaffolded for young readers and are written and illustrated with the specific intention of catching little ones' attention. I mean, who can't sympathize with a pig who is being forced to bath?
My class loves Mrs. Wishy Washy. I've spent a lot of time with her this year. Apparently so has our librarian. Here is our email conversation from Friday.
Libarian: (to me and another teacher) Ask Mrs. Lipstick for Mrs. Wishy Washy books- her class is hoarding them.
Me: You can come raid my stash but not all of mine because we are addicted to that crazy woman and her cleaning antics.
Librarian (this time just to me): I know! The woman is very crazy, is probably OCD, and should not live in a farm with her cleaning OCD habits.
Me: And poor Mr. Wishy Washy who is just a mess, so scared of his wife that he even scrubs the cat. I mean, you know he feels STUCK in that marriage because it is back woods New Zealand and he has no where else to go.
Librarian: Have you actually met Mr. Wishy Washy in a book? I just assumed he ran off a long time ago with some sheep herding floozy.
Me: Yes, he is the designated Dish Washer and he washes a massive stack of dishes and then washes the cat because he is so broken down that he doesn't even pay attention to what he's doing.
Librarian: For how many years do you think Mrs. Wishy Washy cleaned the dishes after Mr. WW because he did not do a good enough job?
Do the Wishy Washy's have children? I hope not but I also did not believe that Mrs. WW actually had a husband. I thought it was like when parents call me Mrs and I do not correct them.
Me: If she has children they fled the farm as soon as they turned 18 and are living in New York City where they amuse their friends with stories of what it was like to grow up on a farm in New Zealand. The girls have eating disorders and the boys have trouble finding a partner that is not overbearing. However, they all make excellent roomates, which is a plus in those tiny NYC apartments.
Librarian: Or do you think they are the terrible kind of roomates who yell at you about dirty pots and pans while you are eating dinner. The dinner that made the dirty pots and pans?
Those boys will never find wives good enough, and all the husbands will leave the girls. Too nerotic about cleaning base boards.
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I promise we are both busy people that do other things than have a day long email conversation about the lives of imaginary children from our favorite book character. Of course, it doesn't matter how crazy she is and whether or not her children left her for NYC because in my classroom she is queen.