Hoogie in the Middle

Hoogie in the Middle Cover Final

Find some fun Hoogie games by clicking Hoogie’s nose!

by Stephanie Simpson McLellan

illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Where to Buy HoogiePublished by Pajama Press (May 2013)

hc $17.95 CDN / $17.95 U.S. (ISBN: 978-1-927485-28-6)


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, she’ll do anything to get attention, 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 Griffith’s funny and endearing art to affirm and celebrate the middle child.


Pumpkin was the first. Tweezle is the newest. Hoogie’s in the middle.

Pumpkin looks like Mom. Tweezle looks like Dad. Hoogie just looks like…Hoogie.

Everyone claps as Pumpkin dances around the room. They all cheer as Tweezle toddles around the table. No one sees Hoogie hop.

Pumpkin is the big, big girl you can always count on. Tweezle is the itty, bitty baby who’s oh, so adorable. Sometimes Hoogie feels like the hole in the middle of a donut.



  • 2013 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” Selection
  • CM Magazine – Highly Recommended
  • 2013 Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Best Books for Kids & Teens” Selection
  • 2014 Crystal Kite Award Finalist
  • 2013 Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Books to Read as a Family” Selection
  • 2013 TVO Parents “Books to Read as a Family” Selection



 Middle Child Day Page-Q107 Button  Middle Child Day Page-Ontario Morning Button  Middle Child Day Page-Metro Morning Button



CLICK HERE to see some fun “Middle Child Day” info, news etc. including student illustrations of Hoogie from students across the country



“I knew something was up when Harriet  suddenly couldn’t stop talking about [Hoogie in the Middle]. (“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. In her family of Muppet-like creatures, Hoogie is not the biggest or the smallest, but she’s stuck in the middle instead–ever too big or too little. Until one day …” — Pickle Me This . . . Read more

“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.”)  — Quill & Quire Feature Review . . . Read more

“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 … — CanLit for Little Canadians Read more

“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.” — CM Magazine . . . Read more

“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 LinksRead more

“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.” — Canadian Children’s Book News Read more

“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. This is a delightful book. I love Stephanie McLellan’s assured telling and Dean Griffiths’s colourful illustrations.” — Author Monica Kulling …  Read more

“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. — Kirkus ReviewsRead more

All reviews…



Hoogie is our middle child Eryn’s real nickname, so this book is all about her. In fact, several of the incidents in the book are based on things that really happened in her childhood. We were staying in beautiful Temagami, Ontario for a dogsledding trip one winter and on waking in the morning, our eldest, Sarah, enchanted us with her retelling of a dream she’d had where she ran with the wolves through the original growth forest. As soon as she finished, while the audience was still assembled, four year old Eryn/Hoogie jumped in and told us that she’d had the exact same dream, except it was foxes. In the book we changed wolves to lions and foxes to bunnies, but otherwise the incident is true. Additionally, we have several photos of the real Hoogie in a bunny suit. She used to do this amazing bunny hop/run thing that her siblings could not replicate. While the real Hoogie has survived her middle child crisis very nicely, growing into a beautiful and confident young woman, I think she feels a bit vindicated for having her story told!Hoogie-in-her-Bunny-Suit