Sometimes Hoogie feels like the hole in the middle of a donut. She isn’t big and dependable like her older sister Pumpkin, and she isn’t tiny and adorable like her baby brother Tweezle. She’s just… Hoogie. She’s too big for this and too small for that, but mostly she just feels invisible. Hoogie is so tired of being ignored that she’ll do anything, even throw a temper tantrum! Luckily Mom and Dad come to the rescue, showing Hoogie how middle can be the best place of all. Stephanie McLellan’s rhythmic text and spot-on similes combine with Dean Griffiths' funny and endearing art to affirm and celebrate the middle child.
* 2014 Crystal Kite Award finalist * 2013 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection * 2013 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens selection * 2013 TVO Parents “Books to Read as a Family” Selection
“This picture book is a terrific example of words and images doing their own job. The text gives us movement (as Pumpkin skips and Tweezle toddles), melody (as Hoogie whispers, “Too big. Too small. No room for me at all”), and, most of all, metaphor (“Sometimes Hoogie feels like the hole in the middle of a donut.” … Griffiths captures the body language of children (well, of childlike, horned, fanged, cat-like things) perfectly. The final spread shows Hoogie swinging between her parents’ hands, her posture a subtle combination of joy and tension, triumph and just a tiny bit of anger…” — Quill & Quire Feature Review, Sarah Ellis
“’Too big.Too small.No room for me at all.’ This is the plight of the middle child or, in the case of Hoogie, middle monster.Not as impressive as the first born, Pumpkin, to whom all things come first and whose firsts are always applauded.Not as adored as the baby of the family, Tweezle, whose needs are many and who is cherished to hold all memories of youth and cuteness.Hoogie tries to be responsible and capable like Pumpkin and then tries to be free and helpless like Tweezle.But, she is neither.She feels like the hole in the middle of a donut.Empty.
“When the emptiness in Hoogie builds, it creates an explosion of emotions that has her parents finally directing their attention and love to their very pink, middle monster-child, helping her see that middles can be empowered to become the fulcrum upon which all others unify and balance.
“When Hoogie finally finds her voice and demands the attention of her parents, they immediately tell her and, best of all, show her that she is “the sun in the middle of the solar system” and the “pearl in the middle of the oyster.”Hoogie and her parents may not know it but current research (Salmon and Schumann, 2011) suggests that, as a middle monster, Hoogie is learning the skills and strategies that will help her navigate adulthood successfully.Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffith probably didn’t even realize how successful they’d been in delivering that little message to little monsters and their parents everywhere. – CanLit for Little Canadians, Helen Kubiw
“Stephanie McLellan, who has received numerous awards and nominations for her previous books, has created a charming text which, for the most part, has just the right pace and rhythm. This is further enhanced by appealing phrases that Hoogie’s parents find to comfort her by comparing her to ‘the sun in the middle of the solar system’ and “the pearl in the middle of the oyster.
“Dean Griffiths, the prolific and popular award-winning illustrator of over twenty-five picture books, has provided readers with flamboyant full-page depictions of purple, green and blue monsters. The vigor and color are compelling, but it is the details that fascinate. Facial expressions and body language capture the confidence and joie-de-vivre of Pumpkin, the cuteness of Tweezle, and the angst of Hoogie. Both the humor and perceptiveness are endearing. Hoogie in the Middle would make a great read-aloud for children aged three-seven, either in a group or individually. Middle siblings and monster lovers are among those who will especially relate to Hoogie.” -- CM Magazine, Highly Recommended
“I knew something was up when Harrietsuddenly couldn’t stop talking about it. (“You be Pumpkin, you be Tweezle, and I’ll be Hoogie,” she’d
demand of whoever was in her company, or a variation on this.) I asked her why she liked the book so much: “Because Hoogie’s a monster and she’s nice,” Harriet answered, and I liked that answer. … This is a good teaching book for any middle child, but also (I have a feeling!) useful for any little one suffering a bit of family displacement. Hoogie will help them to articulate their feelings and know they aren’t alone.” -- Pickle Me This
“Not all children’s books need to be moralistic; some just express, simply and effectively, how it feels to be a child. Hoogie in the Middle is just such a book.
“Hoogie might be in the middle of her monster family, but she is front and centre in this delightful picture book. Young readers caught in the middle like Hoogie will certainly identify; even their siblings will find themselves portrayed in positive ways in the pages. Hoogie is always caught in the middle, so much so that sometimes she “feels like the hole in the middle of a donut”: sadly invisible to all of her family. Eventually, her sadness becomes too much and “Hoogie… EXPLODES!” Sometimes it takes a drastic reaction to get adults to notice…
“Hoogie in the Middle does not condone loss of temper so much as present frustration as a real part of the childhood experience, as much as the imaginative play that Hoogie and her siblings engage in. The simple comparisons made between Hoogie, her older sister Pumpkin, and their baby brother Tweezle, are balanced and sufficiently repetitious to create a memorable, lilting narrative that will help young readers to learn the words as they go, or to enjoy the sounds as their parents read to them.
“Combine Stephanie McLellan’s gentle and effective wordplay with Dean Griffiths’ fabulous, colourful illustrations, and you have a book that feels like Hoogie at the end: “like the jelly in the middle of a sandwich: Sweet.” --Resource Links, Rated E: Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
“Pumpkin is the oldest, Tweezle is the youngest, and Hoogie is stuck plumb in the middle. To make matters worse, Pumpkin has blue fur and slender horns like Mom, and Tweezle has green fur and fat, crinkly horns like Dad. Hoogie, on the other hand, has magenta-pink fur and little horn nubs. She just doesn’t fit in. … Pumpkin is mature and responsible; Tweezle is adorable and cuddly…. However, Hoogie imaginatively describes herself as what is missing: She feels like the hole in the middle of the doughnut. She sadly whispers, “Too big. Too small. No room for me at all.” After the inevitable explosion of frustration, Hoogie’s parents show her how special being in the middle can be. She now feels like jelly in the middle of a sandwich: oh-so-sweet. With their tangles of brightly colored fur, tiny fangs and tiny horns, these feline-esque monsters offer different perspectives of what “middle” can mean.” -- Kirkus Reviews
author Stephanie McLellan has drawn inspiration from her own three children and
created Hoogie in the Middle, a sneak
peek into the world surrounding Hoogie, the middle child. The author playfully
uses rhythm, alliteration and similes to delineate Hoogie’s character and
exhibit how the middle child feels: “Pumpkin is the big, big girl,” “Tweezle is
the itty, bitty baby” and “[Hoogie] feels like the hole in the middle of a
Hoogie does is not right. When Tweezle squishes food, “Everyone laughs.” When
Hoogie does it, she is told to “not be such a baby.” Similarly, she is “too
small” to help dad. “Too big. Too small. No room for me at all,” sums up the
pain she feels. In the end just like “the sun in the middle of the solar
system,” Hoogie isn’t so invisible anymore. McLellan finishes her story with a
deliciously sweet simile!
in this series, Tweezle into Everything follows
in the footsteps of the typical baby of the household where Tweezle is the
“last yummy cookie.” Charming similes and playful dialogue express Tweezle’s
adorable character, constantly trying to prove he is big: “I not baby…I big
boy!” He believes he is all grown up he messes his father’s tool shed, or
enhances his older sister’s paintings. However, Tweezle is made to feel like
the “…mud on the bottom…” of his sister’s shoes. Yet he refuses to give up: “I
not bottom.” The book has an unpredictable and heart-warming ending, showing
that what Tweezle unexpectedly does is indeed a “big deal.”
loveable family comes alive with Dean Griffiths cuddly personified monsters.
Vibrating hues painted in pencil crayons and watercolours evoke an expressionistic
style with realistic elements. The clever use of negative space adds dimension
and energy to the characters as well. Consistent rendering makes switching from
each book in the series a seamless transition. The difference is the focus on
the title characters, e.g. Hoogie holding a donut over one eye exaggerating the
fact that she feels “like the hole in the middle of the donut” or Tweezle
holding a large beach ball reinforcing his babyish stature.
"Hoogie in the Middle and Tweezle into Everything explore the
wonder of childhood and the average day-to-day dilemmas and real-life emotions
of children with siblings. Wonderful books to read aloud that provide an
opportunity for discussion among parents and children." —Lara Chauvin (Canadian Children’s Book News - Winter 2014 - “We