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Marsupial Sue, a young kangaroo, finds happiness in doing what kangaroos do.
Publishers Weekly Lithgow's ebullient encore will strike a positive note with book and music lovers alike.
Kirkus Reviews A natural for reading (and singing along) out loud.
Before very long,
Sue joined in the throng,
Flouncing and jouncing and bouncing along.
Happy and free,
She shouted with glee:
"At last, I'm where I belong!"...
Q: Has anything happened to you in your new career as an author that was surprising?
A: I'm still surprised to hear myself introduced as "actor and author," especially when they throw in the word "musician." And when my first book, The Remarkable Farkle McBride, turned up on the New York Times Best Seller List, I had a confusing reaction, halfway between proud and embarrassed. Of course I was delighted that Farkle had hit so big, but somewhere inside I felt like a fraud: just who, exactly, did I think I WAS!? When I told my friends that I was now a best-selling author, they tended to roll their eyes and mutter, "What next?"
Q: You have performed the song Marsupial Sue in concert. What has the response been like so far?
A: When I perform Marsupial Sue in concert, I don a straw hat with big kangaroo ears poking through it and a long kangaroo tail. I look perfectly ridiculous. The kids think the song is a lot of fun, but I'm not sure how much is the song and how much is the big silly man with the ears and tail.
Q: Was Marsupial Sue planned first as a book or as a song? What is the significance of the waltz-like tune of Marsupial Sue?
A: Like Farkle McBride, I first conceived of the story as a song. I see my kids' concerts as a child's guide to the orchestra, but not so's they notice. The concerts are wild and crazy entertainments, which educate kids about orchestral music without them even knowing it! As such, I've tried to include lots of different kinds of music, to show all the things an orchestra can do. In the case of Marsupial Sue, I thought, "A waltz! A Viennese waltz! A waltz that goes up and down, like a kangaroo hopping!" And then the story presented itself: the kangaroo hops, but he doesn't like it! It makes him sick. So he looks around for a better life! Since he's a kangaroo, he lives in Australia. So why not sample the lifestyles of other Australian animals? What if each experiment is a disaster? What will make the kangaroo embrace his own zoological destiny? I've got it! A wallaby!! Now what shall we call him? He's a marsupial, so what name goes with that? Sue! Marsupial Sue!! Wait a minute! My kangaroo is a GIRL!!! The kangaroo is a girl, and the song...the song is a BOOK!!!!
And so help me God, that's exactly how it happened.
Q: Marsupial Sue has a strong message about accepting oneself. Was there a particular inspiration for addressing this topic with kids? Was there ever a time that you wished there were something different about yourself that you couldn't change?
A: The "message" of the book, "be happy with who you are," is intended as a gentle, understated message. I always like a story to be much more important to the kids than its lesson, but this one is a nice lesson and I'm glad it's there. Childhood is a period when kids are trying to figure out who and what they are (not that many adults have necessarily answered those questions for themselves), so this lesson, however subliminal, is an important one. Incidentally, it's also the most important lesson of a little film called Shrek!, which I happen to know something about.
Have I gone through periods of self-doubt, frustration, and change? Well, DUH. I'm a human being, aren't I? These issues are not confined to marsupials, you know.
Q: Have you ever been to Australia?
A: Nope, never been to Australia, but I'd love to go, and I will someday. What with my new book out, it'll probably be sooner than later.
Q: You selected C. F. Payne to illustrate your first book, The Remarkable Farkle McBride. How did Jack E. Davis come to illustrate this new one?
A: I loved working with C. F. Payne, and in fact, he's already hard at work on my next book. But he was too busy to do a book this year, so I cooked up Marsupial Sue, and along with my editor, I went searching for another illustrator. In fact, I think that Jack E. Davis's style and humor fits this one to a T.
Q: Do you have more children's books in the works?
A: Yes, one is well along, and another is on my editor's desk. I've got my fingers crossed. He tells me my problem is that I'm too prolific.
Q&A provided by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
Posted November 21, 2011
This is a fantastic book. My husband and I sing the book with our grandchildren at least a couple of times a week! They also listen to it in the car with their mother. The older children know all the words and the three year old is quickly catching on! This book has definately taught our grandchildren to just be who they are.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I purchased this for a group of children ranging in age from 3-5 years old. The children are totally engaged while we're listening to the CD and turning the pages. The adult helpers are also loving it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2006
I love this book and my classroom of 6th graders love this book too! It is great for all ages. I have bought all of John Lithgow's childrens books and love every one of them!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 16, 2002
I am a preschool teacher and my class can't get enough of this book! Ever since I bought it for the class the children ask to read it, actually sing it, everyday at circle time. The CD is great and the tune is catchy. It's a great story of accepting who you are.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2002
After bathtime my two boys race to the bed and wait for me to turn on the cd. We sway back and forth and sing our favorite tune, Marsupial Sue!! It's so much fun to see their eyes light up when they sing and the illustrations couldn't be better! Well worth the money spent!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 15, 2002
I've been reading (singing, actually) this book to my 4 month old since he was just a month old. He loves it! He gets so excited when I show him the cover. This is a wonderful book to share with kids of all ages.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2002
My 3 year old daughter LOVES this. She listens to the CD over and over. She can sing all of the words. We have even used listening as a reward for potty training - and she is finally getting it. Excellent! I would recommend it for anyone with a preschooler.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2002
My 3 year old daughter loves this delightful story and especially loves dancing to the accompanying CD!! The illustrations are also wonderful as is the author John Lithgow. We can't wait for his next book!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2010
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