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HICCUP SNICKUP by Melinda Long


by Melinda Long, illustrated by Thor Wickstrom

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-82245-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Long presents a fairly charming, old family cure for the hiccups. Perhaps “cure” is too strong a word, but the medicine is a lot of fun. A little girl is caught in the grips of the hiccups. Her Grandma gives her a scrap of doggerel that is known to give hiccups their walking papers: "Hiccup snickup / Rear right straight up. / Three drops in the teacup / Will cure the hiccups." Say it fast three times, she advises. But before she can get even one fluid rendering out, other members of her family chime in with their home remedies. Mama recommends putting a paper bag over her head while she eats an apple. Her sister suggests drinking from the wrong side of a cup. One brother scares the daylights out of her, though not her hiccups, while another tells her to hold her breath and stand on her head. The little girl is doing these cumulatively: "So there I was, scared to death, in a wet shirt, wearing a paper bag and eating an apple, while standing on my head, holding my breath and saying, Hiccup snickup / Right rear straight up. / Three drops in the teacup / Will cure the hiccups." Then it's all together now: father says to close your eyes, mother says to take a deep breath, brother one to turn her head sideways, brother two to stick a finger in her ear, and her sister tells her to hold her tongue. Grandma cuts through the nonsense. Just say the verse three times fast, and giggles come to save the day, at least for the little girl. Wickstrom's decidedly cockamamie characters, pop-eyed and slightly frantic, work wonders with the text, yet even still the real magic of this book comes in a read-aloud. (Picture book. 5-9)