I was a voracious reader as a child. One of my elementary report cards says something like, “Sallie checks many books out of the library. But does she read them?” Yes, I probably read most of them. So to say a picture book is perhaps my favorite is a strong statement.
But as I sit here I cannot think of any picture book I loved more than Miss Suzy. I still have my childhood copy and count it among my childhood treasures. And so I was delighted when I looked on Amazon to see that it is currently in print!
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.
I was not surprised when I saw there were 106 ratings on Amazon and every single one of them was five star.
It is that charming of a book.
Miss Suzy is a little gray squirrel who lives happily in her oak-tree home until she is chased away by some mean red squirrels. Poor Miss Suzy is very sad. But soon she finds a beautiful dollhouse and meets a band of brave toy soldiers.
How Miss Suzy and the soldiers help each other makes a gentle, old-fashioned tale that has captured the imaginations of girls and boys alike for forty years. Arnold Lobel’s enchanting pictures are sure to make the kind squirrel and the gallant soldiers the everlasting friends of all who turn these pages.
As I get older, it’s interesting to look at how the books of my childhood shaped me and also why certain ones appealed to me so strongly. As I reread Miss Suzy this morning, knowing myself better now and who I was created to be, I can see why this book was one of my favorites. Why?
Because I see so much of myself in Miss Suzy.
I’m happy to report that Caroline also loved Miss Suzy and even has a stuffed animal squirrel she named Miss Suzy.
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.
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.
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 tell the soldiers.
Word Search – Complete the Squirrels Word Search.
Copywork – Check out this free Squirrels Copywork in my shop. It includes fascinating facts about squirrels to write in both print and cursive.
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.
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.
Even More About Squirrels – See these posts of mine about squirrels: