Cover image for Susan laughs
Susan laughs
Willis, Jeanne.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 2000.

Physical Description:
28 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.
Reading Level:
AD 110 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Susan laughs, she sings. she rides, she swings.
She gets angry, she gets sad, she is good, she is bad...

Told in rhyme, this story follows Susan through a series of familiar activities. She swims with her father, works hard in school, plays with her friends -- and even rides a horse. Lively, thoughtfully drawn illustrations reveal a portrait of a busy, happy little girl with whom younger readers will identify. Not until the end of the story is it revealed that Susan uses a wheelchair.

Told with insight, and without sentimentality, here is an inspiring look at one spunky little girl whose physical disability is never seen as a handicap.

Author Notes

Jeanne Willis lives in London, England with her husband and two children.

Tony Ross has illustrated more than 50 books for children, and has won many illustration awards. Mr. Ross lives with his wife and daughter in Cheshire, England.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-5. Without being condescending or preachy, the words, pictures, and design of this very simple picture book show that a physically disabled child is "just like me, just like you." Only on the very last page do we discover that Susan uses a wheelchair. Before that, the simple, rhyming words and active crayon-and-pencil pictures show her in a succession of ordinary scenarios that every preschooler will recognize. Susan laughs. Susan sings. Susan's good. Susan's bad. She's mad. She's shy. She swims. She swings. She sulks. She's scared. The show and tell works. Children will enjoy seeing their common feelings and experiences. They'll be surprised by that wheelchair at the end; and then they'll accept their connection with the child who they've come to know is "just like me." --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-Through simple rhyming phrases, readers learn about the many things that a young redheaded girl can do: "Susan trots,/Susan rows,/Susan paints,/Susan throws." With great color and movement, the pencil-and-crayon illustrations depict this spirited child in her everyday world. She rides a swing with her father, plays a trick on her grandma, and boils with anger when her cat scratches her face. Abundant details such as patterned wallpaper and funny portraits on walls add interest to each scene. By the end of the story, children will identify completely with Susan, who is "through and through-/just like me, just like you," even if she happens to use a wheelchair, as shown in the final illustration. Thus, the story focuses on her abilities rather than on the things by which she is limited. This book works for sharing one-on-one, for smaller storytimes, and for classroom use.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.