HUGLESS Douglas, the cuddly character from the pen of Abingdon author David Melling, is to be introduced to 300,000 children as part of World Book Day.

Mr Melling’s first Hugless Douglas book has been chosen as one of 10 that will be mass-produced for the day that promotes reading to children.

Father-of-two Mr Melling, 51, said Hugless Douglas stories were now read by children in 31 countries.

The first book in the series Hugless Douglas, came out in September 2010, and he has been drawing illustrations for sequels ever since.

Mr Melling, who lives with wife Tanja, daughter Monika, 13, and Luka, nine, said he was delighted his story had been chosen for World Book Day.

He added: “I’m very chuffed that a Hugless Douglas story has been chosen for World Book Day.

“It’s very high profile.

“Hugless Douglas has really taken off and now he is read in 31 countries.

“He has different names in some countries, so in South Africa it’s Hugless Conrad and in Germany he is called Hugless Paul.

“The first Hugless Douglas story came out in 2010 and it’s been frantic ever since – I’ve been working on sequels.”

In Hugless Douglas, a huggable brown bear wakes up in a need of a hug.

He tries hugging a rock, a tree and a bush but only his mum can give him the right hug. Mr Melling added: “Douglas is a toddler and the type of things that happen to him are everyday moments they can relate to.”

“It has touched kids’ hearts – they like the idea that a hug from your mum can make things better.”

The eight-page book Mr Melling wrote for World Book Day presents a day in the life of Hugless Douglas.

He added: “My publisher Hodder put me forward and I was selected.”

In March, Mr Melling will join other World Book Day authors for a tour to promote the event.

He added: “World Book Day is all about promoting reading for children and I want to support that.”

About 230,000 copies of Mr Melling’s book are being produced for children in the UK and Ireland.

A further 70,000 will be available for youngsters in the Netherlands and Germany.

All the proceeds from the sale go to the World Book Day organisation.

As part of the annual day, every child in full-time education in the UK and Ireland is given a token so they can visit a bookshop and choose a special £1 World Book Day book for themselves.


  • Hello, Hugless Douglas! by David Melling
  • Little Book Day Parade by Emily Gravett
  • Barry Loser: I am Not A Loser by Jim Smith
  • Fun With the Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
  • The Midnight Picnic by Lauren St John
  • Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary
  • Middle School: How I got lost in London by James Patterson
  • Jack Pepper by Sarah Lean
  • Rock War: The Audition by Robert Muchamore
  • The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson