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Flannel Friday: Mrs. Wishy-Washy


This week’s #FF is a flannelization of one of my all-time favorite picture books:

Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out this brilliant book is out of print. (published in 1980…It’s almost as old as me!) I must have made my family read it about a zillion times when I was little.  It’s a very silly, sweet story about getting dirty, and getting clean.

I made animals double sided so that they are dirty on one side:


and clean on the other (see below).

You can download this pattern from

But here’s my flannelized version of the best book in the whole world:

“Oh, lovely mud,” said the cow, and she jumped in it.

cow jumping in the mud

“Oh, lovely mud,” said duck, and she paddled in it.

“Oh, lovely mud,” said pig, and he rolled in it.

pig rolling and duck paddling in the mud

Along came Mrs. Wishy-Washy.

Watch out cow, duck and pig. She's gonna wish-wash you!

“Just look at you!” She screamed. “In the tub you go.”

She puts them in the tub, one-by-one, and washes them clean. She begins with the cow. Then,

In went the duck wishy-washy, wishy-washy

dirty duck

clean duck

“That’s better,” said Mrs. Wishy-Washy. And she went back into the house.

I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t read it. This is a great story to pair with one of my all-time favorite chants/rhymes:

Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy squashy between your toes!
I’d rather wade in wiggly mud
than smell a yellow rose.
Nobody else but the rose-bush knows
how nice mud feels between the toes.

Check out the Flannel Friday Round Up at Loons and Quines for more flannelizing fun! And if still haven’t had enough there’s always the #FF archive on pinterest.


16 thoughts on “Flannel Friday: Mrs. Wishy-Washy

  1. This is so cool. My mum actually illustrated Mrs. Wishy Washy, Joy Cowley’s a good friend of hers. I’ll send this page to Mum, I’m sure it’ll make her day haha

    • HOLY MOLY! Your mum and Joy Cowley are my heroes! I love everything about all the Mrs. Wishy-Washy books. The illustrations and stories are a perfect, timeless match! Whenever I use them in storytime, the kids go wild for them! Oh, and the last time used this flannelboard in storytime, I added a toothbrush to scrub the animals clean, and the kids went bananas. Please tell you mom thank you, thank you, thank you from a very admiring librarian. cheers!

  2. Pingback: Preschool Storytime–Clean Up! « LibrErin

  3. Before I even read your post, I was thinking this would be a great one where you flip the pieces over. Great post!!!

  4. Did you see that Joy Cowley has a “Mrs Wishy Washy’s Farm” in print? I’ve had fun with it at storytime.

    I used to have a flannel for the story you have presented here, but I can’t find it 😦 I had a small galvanized tub that I had found somewhere to wash the animals. Shoot, I wish I could get my hands on that set!

    • yes, we have that one in our storytime collection. i’ve used it a whole bunch. my one problem with it is that it’s a more complicated story, and the kids in my current prek storytime are on the young side, so i try to keep the stories pretty short. next year, i’ll probably be able to use it. by then, they’ll be familiar with mrs. wishy washy, and her rascally critters

  5. This is a cute one, Cate! I love Mrs. Wishy Washy. The kids love her too!

  6. I was going to do the makinglearningfun version, but yours is so cute. I think I will make this one instead. I like that the animals are dirty on one side and clean on the other. Thanks!

  7. We have the big book for Mrs. Wishy Washy. So great. I never thought of putting it to flannel!

    • oooo lucky. we have a tiny board book version in our outreach collection. it works in a pinch, but it’s not ideal. the pattern makes nice, big piece. Mrs. Wishy Washy is about 6″ tall.

  8. Those are some of the cutest felt animals I’ve seen!

  9. LM*O! I LOVE mud between my toes! :-}

    I didn’t know Ms Wishy Washy was out of print. 😦

    You did a very endearing version! The kids must love to see the animals get muddy and then clean again. 🙂 I will definitely be making this for my storytime AND for our playtime.

    • yea, it did mean using almost 2x as much felt, but i like it too. when you put the dirty animals in the tub, you can scrunch them up as you say the wishy-washies to do a little sleight of hand as you flip them over. this makes it seem a little more “magical” you’ll get a bunch of oos and ahhhs

      and i don’t think i mentioned in the post (in case it isn’t totally obvious) i just used a brown felt tip marker to make the critter look filthy.

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