The Longer the Wait the Bigger the Hug – tales from children’s publishing

We’re not all falling back into each others arms yet, but for some of us it is time to hug. Some people, anyway.

The Longer The Wait, The Bigger The Hug is the third instalment of Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar’s hedgehog/tortoise will they/won’t they saga. We’ve had their reversible meet-cute in The Hug followed by the socially distanced courtly love of While We Can’t Hug

This new instalment was conceived back in the winter, as jabs first started going into arms and there was reasonable hope of the pandemic being under control by the summer. Then came Delta, of course…

We aren’t where we hoped we’d be. 

Some families have been reunited, others have not. It’s a lot for young children to process. 

This isn’t directly a pandemic book – it’s a story about the sadness of being separated, and the joy of being reunited. A universal story. 

Winter has been long and Hedgehog, curled up in the snow, is dreaming of Tortoise and everything they will do together when spring comes…

Our youngest, Viola, was literally days old when the first book – The Hug – came out. This early newborn hug below is one of the first photos we took of the girls together. We represent both the author Eoin and illustrator Polly, not something that happens often. And while that first book was being created, Viola was not the only new baby: Eoin, Polly, the editor, the publisher and the art director all had babies too. It was excessive, and wonderful.

The series has grown alongside our daughters. The Longer the Wait the Bigger the Hug is another beautiful book we’re proud to be involved with. 

-Lucy & James Catchpole

If you’d like to order a copy of any of the hedgehog and tortoise books, you can find them wherever you usually buy books. Or in our UK or US Bookshop, where we get a direct percentage. The mini hardbacks are particularly gorgeous in our opinion – much smaller than standard picture books, and slightly Beatrix Potter-ish. Oh and the publisher – Faber – has made some beautiful book trailers for these books, below.

The While We Can’t Hug trailer by Faber was released in May 2020 and watched very widely during that first lockdown
A lovely book trailer for The Longer the Wait the Bigger the Hug – also by Faber & Faber

[Image descriptions:

  1. Viola (2) and Mainie (6) are standing on the garden bench looking at each other, Mainie is holding a copy of The Longer the Wait the Bigger the Hug. There are red roses & white clematis growing behind them. They’re both white with light brown hair, blondish in the light. They’re wearing matching long floral dresses, with a 70s festival vibe.
  2. The same framing, now Viola is hugging Mainie, lying on a bed. She’s looking at the camera. Mainie’s looking fond.
  3. A photo of Viola (a few days old) and Mainie (4). Mainie has her arms round Viola and her face up to hers, it is very intimate and loving, her eyes are closed. A copy of the small hardback edition of The Hug is balanced on top of them. Viola is wrapped in a dark green muslin blanket, Mainie is wearing pink gingham pyjamas.
  4. This photo is similar – it’s on the same bed. Viola is now a toddler of almost 2, with a ponytail, and Mainie is 6. They’re awake and grinning at each other. We’ve put the same muslin blanket round Viola, and Mainie is in the same pyjamas. The book While We Can’t Hug is between them.
  5. Video: a book trailer made by Faber in May 2020, for While We Can’t Hug. Hedgehog and Tortoise are apart, but find ways to continue their friendship. The pandemic is not referred to. It ends with the words “They could not touch. They could not hug. But they both knew that they were loved.
  6. Video: another book trailer – this time for The Longer the Wait the Bigger the Hug, showing the illustrated characters hedgehog & tortoise. It starts with snow & them separate, & ends with a hug.]

A version of this was posted on Instagram on the12th September 2021.

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