8 Ways to Teach Literacy Skills With Piggie Pie! at Halloween

Okay, so Piggie Pie! is not technically a “Halloween book,” but the main character is a witch…so it totally works!


Gritch the witch wants to make some Piggie Pie, but she doesn’t have any piggies. Problem! So she looks in the phone book to find some piggies and flies off on her broom to Old MacDonald’s farm. She’s in for a big surprise when she gets to the farm and can’t find any piggies. (The pigs have cleverly disguised themselves as other animals and even as Old MacDonald himself.) When the discouraged Gritch has a chance meeting with the Big Bad Wolf, she invites him “for lunch” instead.

Here are 8 easy ways to use Piggie Pie! as a Halloween mentor text at Halloween

1. Grammar/Phonics

This text is stellar for targeting grammar…especially adjectives and action verbs. “Gritch the witch woke up grouchy, grumpy and very hungry. Her belly grumbled for something delicious.” (This little snippet of alliterative text would also be terrific for phonics practice targeting the gr consonant blend!)

2. Alliteration

Alliteration is used very effectively in this text.

“How can I make Piggie Pie without even one puny pink pig?”

“What do you mean, no piggies, you lumpy-looking cow!” screamed Gritch.

“I need eight plump piggies for Piggie Pie! Fork over the pork, you walking milk machine, or I’ll curdle your cream!” (Also, “Fork over the pork” is an example of internal rhyme!)

3. Word choice, Vocabulary, Voice, or Dialogue Writing

Take your pick because the descriptive writing in this book is simply delicious. Gritch has a very big personality which comes through loud and clear.
“I just saw a passel of piggies down here not a minute ago! Hand over those hogs, you little quacker.”

4. Onomatopoeia

I love the creative use of onomatopoeia in the dialogue. Again, it’s so well done.
“Look, Shorty, I’ve been quack-quacked here, moo-mooed there, and clucked clucked everywhere all over this farm.”

5. Using Picture Clues to Gain Meaning

Gritch doesn’t know where all the piggies have gone on Old Mac’s Farm and the dialogue never once gives it away. It’s only Howard Fine’s clever illustrations which show that the pigs are actually wearing animal disguises.

6. Compare and Contrast

Because the characters are so well developed through both the dialogue and illustrations, this is a fun book to compare the similarities and contrast the differences between (Gritch and the Big Bad Wolf) and/or (Gritch and the Piggies). Use a simple Venn diagram.

7. Making Connections/Allusion

There are lots of opportunities to make meaningful connections to text with so many kid-friendly references to:
A folk tale: “The Three Little Pigs”
A song: “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”
A movie: “The Wizard of Oz”

8. Making Inferences

The piggies may not have much to say through dialogue like Gritch the witch, but kids can certainly use the illustrations to infer character traits about these pigs. They are quite a clever bunch to avoid becoming Piggie Pie for Gritch’s lunch!

When Gritch isn’t able to find piggies, she does the next best thing. She invites the Big Bad Wolf “for lunch.” Each character envisions eating the other. As readers, we are left to infer what might actually happen next. Since there is a sequel to Piggie Pie, my money is on Gritch coming away as the victor. Plus, the Big Bad Wolf isn’t exactly in great physical shape to start with.

Awesome teaching bonuses from this talented author/illustrator team:

Piggie Pie Story Map

Piggie Mask

Piggie Pie Word Fun

There is also a Piggie Pie! Reader’s Theater script available if you sign up and provide your email address on Margie Palatini’s website. Her website is a treasure trove of wonderful teaching resources. Check it out HERE!

Image of Margie Palatini, author of Piggie Pie!  Margie Palatini had her first book, Piggie Pie, published in 1995. Gritch the witch comes back for more fun in Zoom Broom and Broom Mates. Palatini has written many, many more highly acclaimed (and also very funny) books since.

Image of Howard Fine, illustrator of Piggie Pie!  Howard Fine has illustrated not only several of Margie Palatini’s books, but books by many other authors as well.

A FREE printout of this post is available HERE!

You might also be interested in my blog post, Get FREE Teaching Resources for Margie Palatini Books.


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