Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Big Susan, written by Elizabeth Orton Jones and originally published in 1947, is hands down my favorite chapter book length read aloud pick for little girls. It is beyond me why more people don't know about this book. I didn't until about six months ago. And after reading Big Susan, I'm wondering what other gems were overlooked in my childhood.
Big Susan is about a collection of doll house people who belong to a girl whom they call Big Susan. But unlike many doll house stories, these dolls are not alive in the sense that they can move or speak anytime they wish. They are sentinent. They think and feal. But sadness does not tug the corners of their mouths downward. Nor does levity brighten their faces.
Only when they are in Big Susan's hands can they experience movement. Only through Susan's mouth can they speak.
But there is one exception.
On Christmas Eve, a bit of nursery magic is enacted and they come alive. They can move and speak of their own volition.
But one year, their magical hour arrives and no tree, nor gifts, nor feast await them. At first they are dejected. Where can Big Susan be, they wonder. She's forgotten us, they believe.