Illustrated by Elsa Warnick

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers

This book is dedicated – For family and friends and sweet memories to hold

The Story Behind The Story

My friend Vernise lives far away from her grandchildren. Sometimes when she said good-bye to Onnivin and Brendelyn on the phone, she would say “I’m sending you smiles in the clouds. Go outside and see if you can see them.”

When Vernise began signing her emails to me, “Hugs on the Wind”, I thought this was the perfect title for a children’s book. Together we wrote the story of Little Cottontail because everyone misses someone sometime. We might miss our father or mother who is at work while we’re at school. We might miss our lost dog. We might miss our grandparents who live far away. If you read this book about Little Cottontail, you will have some ideas about how to send hugs and smiles and jokes and songs and kisses to someone.

I like Little Cottontail because he is joyful and he is creative. Those are two of the most important qualities a person…or a cottontail…can have. His heart is open to the world and to every beautiful, happy, or even sad thing it brings to us.

Awards and Honors

  • Family Choice Award – 2006


Christian Library Journal

“Long-time friends Marsha Diane Arnold and Vernise Elaine Pelzel have teamed together to give us Hugs on the Wind, a picture book that will console children who miss someone special. Watercolor nature scenes by Elsa Warnick are soothing, depicting a place where a small rabbit remembers his grandfather while gathering clover and wild lettuce with his mother. Never divulging whether his grandfather is deceased or just far across the meadow, Little Cottontail cleverly invents ways to use nature as a means to transmit his loving memories and thoughts. Likewise, a young reader could recall those who are not with them and send their own smiles sailing on the clouds, songs on the trees, and jokes down a river. A sensitive book for a child whose loved one is far away or deceased, giving them inspired ways to express their love by using nature to carry their sentiments.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Little Cottontail wishes that his grandfather “had not gone so far away,”…..The long-eared hero wants Grandfather to know how much he is missed. But how? “I will wrap my hugs around the Wind,” says Little Cottontail to his mother. “The Wind will blow them to Grandfather, all the way across the Great Green Meadow.” Happy with his ingenuity, Little Cottontail then sends Grandfather smiles via the clouds, and a favorite joke carried by the river. As the little bunny and his mother settle down for the night, he says, “I think Grandfather is winking to the Stars, so they can wink at me.” …..the lilting, soft language and gossamer settings (particularly when night falls on the meadow) work a soothing magic. The book may be sentimental, but it also feels genuine.”

It’s Only Ink!

“Little Cottontail, who misses his grandfather, begins coming up with creative ways to send him his hugs, smiles, and jokes. As he waits while his mama picks wild lettuce, he whispers jokes to the river, hoping his grandfather will hear them. Little Cottontail sends hugs on a breeze and smiles through the clouds, sending all the love he can to his grandfather across the Great Green Meadow. “Hugs on the Wind” is sure to delight children 4 to 8 with its smooth, tender flow of words. The pastel drawings by Elsa Warnick beautifully bring Little Cottontail and his mama to life. Perfect for Easter, in schools and in home, “Hugs on the Wind” by Marsha Diane Arnold and Vernise Elaine Pelzel is an ideal book to share with a child who misses someone special.”

Hugs on the Wind Around The Web