Miss Suzy by Miriam Young and pictures by Arnold Lobel is the delightful story of a little gray squirrel who lives “in the tip, tip, top of a tall oak tree.” First published by Parents’ Magazine Press in 1964, this classic book has been enjoyed by generations of children. It teaches important themes such as friendship, bravery, and love in the context of the charming illustrations.
The picture book, Miss Suzy, can be a great launch story for a variety of learning activities, creative writing, and art projects. It is perfect for early elementary aged learners. (It was my very favorite picture book when I was a girl.)
Miss Suzy Synopsis
Miss Suzy is very content in her little house in the oak tree. She enjoys taking care of her home, making acorn pudding, sweeping her moss carpets, and dusting her firefly lamps. Miss Suzy has a cozy home and sings little songs while going about her work.
One day her home is invaded by a band of quarrelsome red squirrels. The six squirrels chase her out of her home, break her belongings and eat up all her stored nuts. Stuck outside in the pouring rain, Miss Suzy discovers an old abandoned house and climbs into the attic. She finds a beautiful dollhouse and decides to clean it up and live there. While looking around the attic, she discovers a box of toy soldiers sleeping in a box. She sets them free and they come to live with her in the dollhouse.
But Miss Suzy misses her old home in the tall oak tree and tells the soldiers stories about it. The soldiers decide to do something about it and march over to the tree where they surprise the red squirrels. The soldiers chase the squirrels out of Miss Suzy’s home and then tell Miss Suzy it is safe for her to return home. Miss Suzy is so happy and goes about putting everything in order again.
Retell The Story
Purchase a small gray squirrel and have your children retell the story of Miss Suzy. They can make a home for her out of a box and draw soldiers that stand up on cardstock.
Write a Song: Miss Suzy loves to sing while cleaning and cooking in her home. Write a new song for her to sing while she works around her home in the oak tree.
Write a Story: Every night Miss Suzy told the soldiers stories. Write a story that Miss Suzy might have told the soldiers.
Design a Treehouse Picture or Shoebox Diorama: Miss Suzy loves living in her house in tip, tip top of a tall oak tree. Design the perfect treehouse. What would it look like? What would be in it? What would someone do there? Draw a picture and label the different parts of the treehouse. Or create a shoebox diorama that shows the inside of the treehouse.
Acorn Art Project: Miss Suzy liked making acorn cake and had acorn cups. Collect acorns and use them for an art project such as a picture frame decorated with acorns. If you live somewhere where it isn’t possible to find acorns, you can purchase both real and faux acorns online.
Firefly Lamps: Miss Suzy’s lamps had fireflies in them. Learn about fireflies and how they light up. Catch some in a jar to observe up close.
If your children would like to explore more about squirrels, check out this free Squirrels Copywork in my shop. It includes fascinating facts about squirrels to write in both print and cursive.
Young children are captivated by the story of Miss Suzy and her band of toy soldiers. The charming illustrations add to the warmth of the story that focuses on friendship, bravery and love. By completely art projects and enjoying writing prompts, children can find their own way of expressing their joy with Miss Suzy.