Some days are Miss Suzy days. (When you’re a four-year-old girl, pretty much every day is a Miss Suzy day.) Today is gray and drizzly, a rarity for us here in sunny SoCal. Especially in October, which I’ve been recalibrated (after four years here) to think of as That Baking Hot Month When It’s All About the Santa Anas. Wildfire month. But not today. Today is chilly, blankety weather. I was tempted to call off the older kids’ morning activity, just so I wouldn’t have to venture out from under the quilt. But I didn’t. Out we went, and home we came, and the baby went down for an early nap, and Rilla and Wonderboy and I cuddled up to visit Miss Suzy.
When I open its pages, I’m swept again with the same wave of love I felt as a small girl. Oh how I adore Miss Suzy’s house. The firefly lamps, the moss rug, the acorn cups. Please can’t I live there? I feel now exactly as I did at age—I don’t know, four? five? six? When did I encounter this book? Who read it to me?
Those horrible red squirrels. I remember how sick I felt the first time I turned the page and saw that awful squirrel cracking Miss Suzy’s dear twig broom in half. How impressed I was by the grand, cobwebby dollhouse, and how well I understood Miss Suzy’s not-quite-contentment there, even after she’d tidied it up, even after she had the nice toy soldiers to mother. She could see the stars from her bed in the little house in the old oak tree, her poor little ransacked house overrun with the quarrelsome red squirrels.
Wonderboy enjoys the book well enough, but Rilla is as enchanted as ever I was. As I write this, I can hear her humming in the next room; she’s writing (and I quote) “my own version of Miss Suzy, a-cept it has a chickmunk instead of a squirrel.” I’m under orders not to peek until she’s ready.
I hope she includes the acorn cups.
4oth anniversary edition published by Purple House Press. Who the heck are Purple House Press? Oh my goodness, I just looked them up—I had no idea! They’re doing reprints of out-of-print children’s classics! They’re the folks who brought back Twig! Purple House Press, you are my new best friends!
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In Which I Am Probably Seriously Maligning Henry James
An Interview with Ellen Weiss
Our Week in Books: August 30-September 5
Books About Babies, Continued