Written by Lee Wardlaw
Illustrated by Joan Holub

Random House
A Level 2 Easy-Reader
Ages 4-8

Garden State Reader’s Choice Finalist
An Accelerated Reader Book
Letter of the Week Book List

hiccup trivia animation

Hector has the hiccups!
His older brother and sister want to help.
They try everything –
having him hold his breath,
putting a paper bag over his head,
scaring him with a gorilla mask
– all with hilarious results.
Nothing seems to work,
until they come up with the best cure of all…

hector bag

Horn Book: "Easy sentences, mild humor, and child-driven problem-solving make the story a good choice for beginning readers. Water color illustrations effectively support the text."

School Library Journal: "…[a] solid choice for beginning readers…[with] a light touch of humor…[this book has] short sentences and large print with colorful illustrations on each page…the engrossing [story] and pleasing pictures provide  the incentive to decipher the more complicated text. "

Parent Council: "…a fun easy-reader that children can identify with…"

hector and cat

Excerpt from
Hector’s Hiccups:

"Hic!" said Hector.

His brother, Carlos, stopped drawing.
"Did you hear that?" he called.

Their sister, Maria, looked out
of the tree house.
"I didn't hear anything," she said.

"Hic-hic!" said Hector.

"I think it's coming from Hector,"
said Carlos.

Maria climbed down from the tree.
"Time for a visit from Doctor Maria,"
she said.

Maria opened her doctor kit.
"Stick out your tongue
and say ahhhh, Hector," she said.

Hector stuck out his tongue
and said "Hic!"

"Uh-oh," said Maria.
"Hector has the hiccups!"

"Hic! Hic-hiccup!" agreed Hector.

Maria giggled.
"He sounds like popcorn,"
she said.

"Maybe he ate a grasshopper,"
Carlos teased.
"It's hopping inside his tummy.
Like this!"
Carlos jumped up and down.

"No hopper!" said Hector.
"Hic! Hic-Hiccup!"


hector animation hiccup

Hiccups were called yex or yox (which also meant to sob) in the days of Old English. Later, these words were changed to hiquet, hicket, hickot, hickock, hitchcock, and hiccough. By the late 16th century, the accepted spelling and pronunciation was "hiccup." 
Eryximachus, a 5th century BC doctor, recommended this cure for hiccups: " . . . hold your breath, and if this fails, gargle with a little water; and if the hiccough still continues, tickle your nose with something and sneeze, and if you sneeze once or twice, even the most violent hiccough is sure to go."
In the year AD 77, Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist, wrote: "When a horse-shoe becomes detached from the hoof . . if a person takes up and puts it by, it will act as a remedy for hiccup the moment he calls to mind the spot where he has placed it."
In Great Britain and Europe, the superstitious believed that hiccups were a sign someone was thinking about you. The cure? Hold your breath and count to one hundred, or have someone drop a cold key down your back. If you hiccupped in church, you were thought to be possessed by the devil.
If you had hiccups in the olden days of Greece, it was believed that someone who disliked you was complaining about you to someone. The only way to get rid of the hiccups was to guess the name of that person.
If you soaked a piece of paper, cut in the shape of the cross, and placed it on your forehead, you could cure the hiccups, according to German tradition.
A Scottish book, DISCOVERIE OF WITCHCRAFT, published in 1584, offered this cure for hiccups: "Some will hold fast their left thombe [thumb] in their right hand when they hickot; or else will hold their chinne [chin] with their right hand whiles a gospell is soong [sung]."
"The following charm, thrice repeated, holding the breathh, is, or used to be, with us, a cure for [hiccups]: "Hiccup-sniccup-look up - - right up - - three drops in a cup - - is good for the hiccup." - from SUFFOLK WORDS, 1823.
Unborn babies have been known to hiccup in the womb as early as 11 weeks!
Men get hiccups more often than women.
Hiccup epidemics in Winnipeg, Canada, occured in 1919, 1922, and 1923 after severe outbreaks of the flu.
The World's Longest Hicker was Charles Osborne, an American farmer, who hiccuped for almost 70 years. He started hicking for no reason, in 1922, while weighing a pig before slaughtering it. The hiccups disappeared in 1990. Mr. Osborne hiccuped as few as 10 and as many as 40 hics per minute - - or about 430 million times over 68 years. Sometimes he hiccuped so hard, his false teeth would fall out!
One person who suffered with the hiccups for eight years received more than 60,000 letters with suggestions of cures. (None of them worked.)
Drinking pineapple juice, orange juice, and dill or peppermint tea may help get rid of hiccups. Other home cures include: breath holding, eating a tablespoon of granulated sugar, gargling with water, sipping ice water, drinking from the far side of a glass, pulling your knees up to your chest, rebreathing into a paper bag, standing on your hands or head, cursing, touching two pins together, and eating ice cream. Lee Wardlaw recommends drinking one or two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.

All illustrations copyright Joan Holub, 1999