What is a donut without the hole?

Review by Author Monica Kulling (May 14, 2013)

What is a donut without the hole?

The little monster (as depicted by Dean Griffiths in a stroke of genius) Hoogie is situated smack in the middle of her two siblings — older sister Pumpkin and younger, adorable, baby brother Tweezle. Hoogie feels overlooked, unsung, and just plain invisible. She tries with all her might to be herself, but hasn’t found a way to do that yet. Mom and Dad clap and clap when Pumpkin pirouettes. They cheer when Tweezle toddles. But they completely ignore inspired Hoogie when, dressed as a bunny, she hops and hops for their entertainment.

Such is the plight of the middle child. How do you compete with a cuddly younger sibling? How do you become someone Mom and Dad can count on when your older sister already occupies that spot? It’s a tough row to hoe.

Any child, monster or not, will love the ending of this vibrantly told story. Hoogie’s parents prove in the end to be smart and sensitive. Even though I found Dad to be a particularly scary green monster, with those fangs, horns, and ominous eyebrows, he’s the first to offer Hoogie relief from her middle-child woes.

This is a delightful book. I love Stephanie McLellan’s assured telling and Dean Griffiths’s colourful illustrations. I love the entire package, which includes the trim size! The art is quite different from Dean Griffiths’s previous Pajama Press offering, Lumpito and the Painter from Spain. And that is no mean feat.

[You can read about Monica’s book Lumpito and the Painter from Spain here!]

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