Even monsters feel left out when they are middle siblings.
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. Relying on common family scenarios, McLellan’s storytelling lacks a bit of luster. Pumpkin is mature and responsible; Tweezle is adorable and cuddly—all often true in a middle child’s world but predictable nonetheless. 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. (Picture book. 3-6)