Betty Bard MacDonald was born on March 26, 1908, in Boulder, Colorado. She was raised in Seattle, Washington.
After her first marriage, she and her husband moved to the Olympic peninsula and became chicken farmers, the basis for her hilarious book, The Egg and I, which was a million-dollar bestseller, a movie starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, and the inspiration for the Ma and Pa Kettle movies.
Her first marriage lasted only four years, but she eventually married Don MacDonald and the couple moved to Vashon Island, where they lived and raised chickens for fifteen years. In 1956, the MacDonalds moved to Carmel Valley, California, where they bought a ranch. Another of Ms. MacDonald’s books, The Plague and I, recounts her experiences with tuberculosis (in the days before antibiotics) and living in a sanatorium.
In children’s literature, she is best known as the creator of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (1947, illustrated by Hilary Knight) and its sequels, and the 1952 Nancy and Plum. The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, and how she handles children with various behavior problems, captured the hearts of children and are still being read today. Ms. MacDonald passed away in 1958.