Sing It – Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. Book Review.

 Click here to buy Marsupial Sue

This book is actually a song set to illustration which is why the rhyming sometimes feels a little awkward. Often lyrics depend on the melody to create a comfortable rhythm. Should you wish, you can turn to the last page and learn the song from the musical score. Then you could sing it to your child. Unless you have a singing voice like mine. Better to find one with the included CD.

The book begins,
“Marsupial Sue,
A young kangaroo,
Hated the hopping that kangaroos do.”

What a great setup for book. We follow Marsupial Sue as she tries to escape the migraines, backaches, side aches and tummy aches caused by hopping. She tries to imitate koala bears by climbing a tree and a platypus who sleeps in the mud, both with disastrous results.

She is told,
“Be happy with who you are.
Don’t ever stray too far from you…
If you’re a kangaroo through and through,
Just do as kangaroos do.”

But just like in real life, these words do not fix everything. Come autumn, she meets a wallaby. She joins in with them, “flouncing and jouncing and bouncing along.” Then she shouts with glee, “At last, I’m where I belong!”

I have to say, I don’t get it. She’s not a wallaby but after meeting them she decides, “A kangaroo’s life’s not so bad after all!” Maybe I’m just a bit dense, but I don’t see how the transition works and I doubt kids will either. I might look like a fool giving a New Your Times Best-Seller three stars, but I call them as I see them.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


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