Books We Love #I’ve Lost Count

October 6, 2010 @ 10:14 am | Filed under: Books, Picture Book Spotlight

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, illustrated by Arnold Lobel.

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!

More book recommendations here.


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Comments

18 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. That is on my top 5 fave picture books. I wish I had met Suzy as a child, but I’m so glad my daughter knows her well. I didn’t realize it until the other day when I was reading Miss Suzy that the books with characters who sing little songs to themselves (Bedtime for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, Suzy, Amanda Pig . . .) when I read the books, I use the same tune (with few variations) for all of them.

  2. They also publish Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat, which was our favorite around here!! My MIL sent us a copy because it had been my husband’s favorite as a child, and now both my boys insist on holding onto a copy (at 13 and 15!)

  3. I love, LOVE Miss Suzy….and my children hate it. Both of them are terrified by the squirrels, and hate the idea of Miss Suzy all alone without her home so much that they simply can’t continue. They cry. It’s awful.

    So I read it to myself. And I hope that someday they will see the light, like they did with Ferdinand the Bull.

  4. I was so happy to see you write about Miss Suzy – written by my grandmother when I was a little girl. I loved Miss Suzy so much, my father read her to me every night, and we named our first dog after her. I’m so happy that someone has published it again!

  5. Oh, Ellen, how wonderful to hear from a descendant of the author! How lucky you were to grow up with Miss Suzy! I would love to hear more about your grandmother—would you be interested in a Q&A for another post?

    Thanks so much for writing!

  6. Did you ever see my CPSIA-inspired version of Miss Suzy? http://deweystreehouse.blogspot.com/2009/02/mrs-dhm-and-bad-squirrels-fable.html

  7. Oh my. Someone had this book when I was little and it was a favorite. This post really brought back memories.

  8. Miss Suzy and the Purple House Press are making it very difficult to keep to my book buying budget! I want so many of their books. Thanks for the link :)

  9. We don’t have that book here, which is a shame, it sounds so beautiful. How lucky your children are to have it read to them :-)

  10. I remember that book! I’d forgotten all about it, but it was one of my favorites as a child. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

  11. I used to cry as a girl when the red squirrels showed up! My dad always had to put the book down and comfort me before we could continue. I love that book!

  12. Oh, Miss Suzy…she looked like a tiny gray squirrel when we got her as a kitten just before Christmas so Miss Suzy she became.

  13. You once before put a partial picture of the book “Miss Suzzy” on your blogg. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this follow up. I just ordered it from Purple House Press. I believe we got the book about 30 years ago and after your first post we were talking about books and specifically “Miss Suzzy”. Won’t these men of mine be surprised to see it again to read to their niece!

  14. This past Christmas on a visit to my brother-in-laws, I discovered Miss Suzy when perusing the bookshelf in my college-age niece’s old bedroom. I’d never heard of it before, but when I opened it, there was my husband’s name. My niece had inherited it from my husband. It was his favorite book as a child. My niece passed it on to my three-year-old daughter. It’s now her favorite book.

  15. Sigh. I love Miss Suzy. My grandmother was a kindergarten teacher, and used to read Miss Suzy to us. I found it again at a library sale, and share it with my children every fall. Just seeing the picture on your blog made me feel good!

  16. I scoured ebay for a copy of Miss Suzy before I had my first baby. It’s a favorite here, and it always makes me smile to hear my two-year-old singing to himself as he pretends to make an acorn cake. Thanks for your fun post.

  17. [...] the new Betsy-Tacy reissues • Shark vs. Train • Miss Suzy • everything on my Truly, Maudly, Deeply list • books about our Favorite Fictional [...]

  18. We thought about you today!
    Heather, who also reads your blog, told me about Miss Suzy last year. This year we were so lucky to find, not one, but two copies for cents each.

    http://bookscomplicity.blogspot.com/2012/11/miss-suzy.html