Marsupial Sue

( 9 )


If you're a Kangaroo
through and through,
Just do what Kangaroos do.

Young Sue really doesn't like being a kangaroo, so she goes off to find something better. First she tries climbing the trees like a koala, but that doesn't work. Then she wades into the sea like a platypus, but that's no good either. Finally, Sue joins up with some bouncy, jouncy wallabies...and discovers ...
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If you're a Kangaroo
through and through,
Just do what Kangaroos do.

Young Sue really doesn't like being a kangaroo, so she goes off to find something better. First she tries climbing the trees like a koala, but that doesn't work. Then she wades into the sea like a platypus, but that's no good either. Finally, Sue joins up with some bouncy, jouncy wallabies...and discovers that being a kangaroo isn't so bad, after all.
Using a jaunty waltz rhythm, actor, comedian, and best-selling author John Lithgow reassures children that they can be happy with who they are.
For listening or singing along, a CD of a John Lithgow performance of Marsupial Sue and an instrumental version is included with this book, as is the score of the song.

Marsupial Sue, a young kangaroo, finds happiness in doing what kangaroos do.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lithgow (The Remarkable Farkle McBride) follows his successful debut with another musically inspired tale, which dances in waltz rhythm through Davis's (Music Over Manhattan) cleverly drawn illustrations. This whimsical song-set-to-pictures features malcontented Marsupial Sue, unhappy because kangaroo-hopping "rattled her brain" and "gave her migraine, a backache, sideache and tummyache, too." So the Birkenstock-clad kangaroo sets off to find kindred spirits among other Australian animals. (Though all she finds is howling pain when she falls out of the koalas' tree and "typhoid, pneumonia, colic, and gout" from her seaside dallying with the platypuses.) "Marsupial Sue,/ A lesson or two:/ Be happy with who you are./ Don't ever stray too far from you," the refrain warns each time her wanderings result in turmoil. Not until she flounces and jounces with the wallabies ("Exactly like her only not quite so tall") does she realize she's happy after all doing what kangaroos do, though no explanation is given of why hopping no longer bothers her. Davis's charming illustrations, rendered in colored pencil, acrylics and ink, are full of personifying characteristics (wallabies in headphones and sunglasses on birds) that entertain on their own merit. Lithgow's ebullient encore (companion CD included) will strike a positive note with book and music lovers alike. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
This whimsical song-set-to-pictures features a malcontented kangaroo who sets off to find kindred spirits among other Australian animals. "Lithgow's ebullient encore will strike a positive note," according to PW, "while the charming illustrations entertain on their own merit." Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a truly enjoyable book that children are sure to be attracted to because of the fun story line, the captivating illustrations and a CD that includes a musical score with Lithgow singing the text. Marsupial Sue is a young kangaroo who is unhappy with being a kangaroo and journeys out to discover what life is like with the other animals. Her encounters with the Koalas find her hanging from a tree and falling to the ground in pain. Next, she explores the ocean and the life of a platypus but ends up sick in the hospital after eating seafood. She tries again in the autumn, and after joining a group of Wallabies, she realizes that she is very similar to them. Marsupial Sue finally accepts that her life as a kangaroo is not so bad after all. This is a great book for units about "Me" and "Self-acceptance." It is written by the actor from the popular NBC comedy 3rd Rock from the Sun, who also wrote the best selling picture book The Remarkable Farkle McBride. 2001, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Melissa A. Caudill
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Sue is not happy being a kangaroo. Her relatives hop all around, and she gets an incredible headache, among other pains. Wearing her sandals, backpack, sun hat, sundress, and heart-shaped sunglasses, she wanders away. She encounters a tree full of koalas and attempts to hang from a branch as they do but ends up in a heap on the ground with multiple wounds. Seeking another lifestyle, she eyes a platypus basking in the sun near the shore; while she lolls in the water, life at the beach looks good to the marsupial. However, a diet of scallop, shrimp, and trout does not agree with her, and off she goes to the hospital. At last Sue meets up with a wallaby, a miniature version of herself, and joins "in the throng,/Flouncing and jouncing and bouncing along." At last, she realizes that being a kangaroo suits her fine. Lithgow's snappy text has an engaging rhythm that is sure to grab children's attention. Davis's cartoonlike illustrations, in colored pencil, acrylic, dye, and ink, are quirky, bold, and filled with odd details: Sue in her Birkenstocks, a koala on roller skates, a platypus with a beach towel and baseball cap. Though the tone of the book is humorous and light, the "Be happy with who you are" message will not be lost on storytime audiences.-Patti Gonzales, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
People Charming.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416996149
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: Special
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 690,202
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Lithgow
John Lithgow is the New York Times bestselling author of I Got Two Dogs; Mahalia Mouse Goes to College; Marsupial Sue Presents: The Runaway Pancake; I’m A Manatee; Micawber; Marsupial Sue; The Remarkable Farkle McBride; and Carnival of the Animals. An award-winning actor, he has starred on stage, film, and television. He performs concerts across the country and has recorded the CDs Farkle and Friends, Singin’ in the Bathtub, and The Sunny Side of the Street. Visit John at

Jack E. Davis was senior art director with a a large ad agency before becoming a children's book illustrator. Among the books he has illustrated are Bedhead by Margi Palatini, Metro Cat by Marsha Diane Arnold, Music Over Manhattan by Mark Karlins, and the ongoing series The Zack Files by Dan Greenburg. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington, and has three sons and two cats.

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Read an Excerpt

And suddenly Sue was convinced she had found
A way to escape all that bouncing around.
She climbed to the top,
She heard a loud Pop!
And howling in pain fell again to the ground.

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!"...

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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with John Lithgow

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone, no matter what age!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    So much fun for children of all ages.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    Collect them all!

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    I just love this book!!!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2002

    Happy Wisconsin Mom of 2!

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2002

    What fun!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2002

    So Much Fun!!!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2002

    Mother of a 3 year old from Abingdon, Md.

    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!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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