A Second is a Hiccup: A Child's Book of Time


There's never been a more charming explanation of time for young readers.

"How long is a second?"
"A second is a hiccup--the time it takes to kiss your mom, or jump a rope, or turn around."

The newest book by acclaimed picture-book creators Hazel Hutchins and Kady McDonald Denton explains units of time in imaginative terms children can understand: A second lasts as long as a hiccup; a week is seven sleeps; and a year is the time it takes to ...

See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$17.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (27) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $9.63   
  • Used (19) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...


There's never been a more charming explanation of time for young readers.

"How long is a second?"
"A second is a hiccup--the time it takes to kiss your mom, or jump a rope, or turn around."

The newest book by acclaimed picture-book creators Hazel Hutchins and Kady McDonald Denton explains units of time in imaginative terms children can understand: A second lasts as long as a hiccup; a week is seven sleeps; and a year is the time it takes to grown into new shoes!

Any parent who's been asked, "How long is a minute?" or any kid who's wondered, "What does 'an hour' mean?" will enjoy this smart, simple, and surprising book.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Booklist Sarred
Hutchins explains the lengths of various time units in original, child-centered terms. A Second is how long it takes to hiccup or “to kiss your mom/ Or jump a rope/ Or turn around.” A minute is not just 60 seconds, it's also time enough for 60 hiccups, 60 hops, or a little song including the chorus and verses. And so on, through an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year. Ingenious explanations include a month as the time it takes for a scraped shin to grow new skin and a year how long it takes to outgrow a pair of shoes. Often falling in to rhymed couplets, the fluid text reads aloud well. Few contemporary illustrators depict children with such understanding, grace, and quirky charm as Denton, whose previous picture books include Claire Masurel's Two Homes (2001) and Nan Gregory's Amber Waiting (2002). Here the diverse cast of characters centers on three children who intersect with each other, their parents, and their siblings as they participate in a year's worth of activities. Washed with gentle colors, the sensitive drawings portray children who are secure, actively engaged, and sometimes even joyful within their community of family and friends. The first American edition of a Canadian picture book, this is a worthy companion to Zolotow's equally child-centered classic Over and Over (1957) and fresh new take on the passage of time.
Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
As the title suggests, this is a book that engagingly answers young children's questions about time. Cleverly using concepts that youngsters understand, the author explains the meaning of divisions in time. A minute is "sixty hiccups." Building a tower, running through a shower, climbing a tree, smelling a flower, and using secret power will cover an hour. A week encompasses, among other things, seven nights of sleep and seven wakings in the morning. Similar descriptions are presented for a day, a month and a year. The lively watercolor and ink illustrations are perfect accompaniments for the rhyming text. This book will work well with Charlotte Zolotow's Over and Over in teaching the definition of time. Here is another valuable addition for all collections with its wonderful combination of words and pictures.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2
The abstract concept of time is explained in child-friendly terms: "A second is a hiccup—/The time it takes to kiss your mom/Or jump a rope/Or turn around." A minute is long enough to "sing just one small song," and in an hour, you could build a sandcastle, run through a sprinkler, climb a tree, and play pretend. A day "needs filling, like a cup," and a week is explained as "Seven wake-ups, seven sleeps." In a month, a scraped shin will heal with "brand-new skin," and by the end of a year, "You'll grow right out of your old shoes." Denton's charming watercolor-and-ink vignettes, showing three friends interacting with one another and with their families, celebrate their joys and accomplishments with warmth and affection. The lyrical, rhyming text answers deceptively simple childhood questions with great flair.
—Linda LudkeCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
How long is a second? How about a minute? An hour? A day? Hutchins has all the right answers to these time-related questions and more, and she explains them flawlessly, in terms just right for young children. A second, for example, "is a hiccup-The time it takes to kiss your mom / Or jump a rope / Or turn around." An hour is "Sixty minutes singing by. / If you build a sandy tower / Run right through a sprinkly shower / Climb a tree and smell a flower / Pretend you have a secret power / That should nicely fill / An hour." With a sense of wonder and gentle whimsy reminiscent of Ruth Krauss, each line of text rhymes and dances along with three playful children and their families as they explore and travel through a year's worth of sunrises, seasons, growing, counting, learning and fun. Imminently appealing watercolor illustrations, replete with warmth, complement the text perfectly. An excellent read-aloud and a great choice for any child learning about time. (Picture book. 4-7)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439831062
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 330,287
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

After many years of juggling writing, raising her children, and making a home with her now deceased husband, Hazel spends her days writing full time. Winner of Writer’s Guild of Alberta Award for Children’s Literature, she has written children’s short fiction for Chirp, Chickadee, and Cricket.

When answering where the inspiration for A Second is a Hiccup came from, Hazel comments, “I decided to see if I could find other ways to describe time. When the writing began to flow in poetic form — and when I came up with the engaging title line A Second is a Hiccup — I knew I had begun a labor of love. The book went through many incarnations....in one version I actually brought in centuries and eons! Good grief! But it finally returned to exactly what it should be...immediate, simple and close-to-home. It is my sincere hope that children of all types will enjoy finding and celebrating, among the pages, the many ways they spend their time.”

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)