“Miss Suzy was a little gray squirrel who lived all by herself at the tip, tip top of a tall oak tree.” And so begins Miriam Young’s magical tale of a solitary but kind-hearted creature who cherishes the comforts of home and possesses a heart of gratitude for all that she has. When a band of bullying red squirrels chases her away from her beloved oak tree she is forced to look elsewhere for shelter. The attic of an old house provides her with a new place to live in the form of an elegant doll house, and when Miss Suzy also discovers a troop of toy soldiers, she finds friends who will become as close as family.
With wonderfully detailed and beautiful illustrations by Arnold Lobel, the creator of Frog and Toad, and an engaging story told through evocative language with a winsome cadence, this book is sure to be a beloved addition to any storybook collection. Miss Suzy’s appreciation for nature, the love and care she lavishes on strangers, the respect and love she garners from those strangers, and the loyalty she inspires in them, all offer marvelous lessons and teachable moments to share with young children.
I see so much of God in this story. Miss Suzy’s love for and proximity to nature show that she is a caring steward and a grateful denizen of God’s perfect creation. The fact that at night she can see “a million stars” is a gentle reminder that even in the darkness, God provides us with light and hope: The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork! When the wind blows, her house rocks gently like a cradle, that speaks to me of the simple pleasures God gives us.
When God guides her, not just to adequate shelter, but to a safe haven where she finds new friends who can help her, it is an example of His intercession and divine mercies. Miss Suzy’s insistence on taking the soldiers into her home, mothering them and caring for them, shows her servant’s heart and her love for others. If Miss Suzy is rudely ejected from her own personal Garden of Eden through no fault of her own, God is still with her in her exile, and just as he has made promises to His people, he leads her back home again, to the life she loves, but now broader and richer for the friends she has made, and with full awareness of the blessings she has received.
What can we learn from this story? What can we teach our children?
If you did it to the least of these you did it also to me.
Do unto others . . .
And of course:
The greatest of these is love.