Books by Susan Varley

SORREL AND THE SLEEPOVER by Corrinne Averiss
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2018

"The affirming message offers an important lesson about the joys of heterogeneity, so young listeners will likely enjoy making the acquaintance of Sorrel and Sage and pondering with them what makes a perfect friendship. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A little girl squirrel tries to hide the ways that she and her best friend are different. Read full book review >
LOVELY OLD LION by Julia Jarman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A supportive, honest, and needed explanation of Alzheimer's-type illnesses. (Picture book. 4-8)"
What happens when Grandpa can't remember? Read full book review >
TWO SHY PANDAS by Julia Jarman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2013

"Sweet tonic for skittish young listeners. (Picture book. 3-5)"
When little ones are very timid, it can take some time to form a friendship. Read full book review >
CAPTAIN SMALL PIG by Martin Waddell
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2010

Old Goat (comfortably amiable), Turkey (a bit of a gloomy Gus) and Small Pig (enthusiasm incarnate) find a red boat and go rowing on Blue Lake. Small Pig wants to fish for whales, so Old Goat ties a string to an oar for him—but Small Pig only catches a boot. Next he wants to row by himself: "I'm Captain Commander!" Before long Small Pig announces he's too tired to row any more, and Old Goat tells him to keep his hand on the tiller and let the boat drift. As the moon rises, all three are asleep until Old Goat wakes, rows back to the dock and upsets the boat, but Small Pig continues to dream of being Captain. Varley's skillfully composed pen-and-ink illustrations lend an old-fashioned feeling to this gentle story, enlivening it with details like blue ticking on pillows and endpapers. Turkey wears a hat and vest, and Old Goat wears a white shirt and striped knickers, while Small Pig sports rolled-up pants and a polo shirt. This is an affectionate nod to friendship between ages (and types). (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
THE BOY WHO THOUGHT HE WAS A TEDDY BEAR by Jeanne Willis
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

The fairies are responsible, so this story of a boy who thought he was a teddy bear qualifies as a fairy tale—and a very charming one indeed. A baby boy is resting in his carriage in the woods—his mother is a short ways off picking flowers—when the fairies find him. They deliver him to their friends the teddy bears, who take him under their wings and raise him as a teddy. They name him Pinky Blinky Dinky because he was and did those things. He learned to walk and growl like a teddy, sit on shelves and sleep in cupboards, attend picnics in the wildwood, and became a first-class cuddler. Just when the bears are feeling that it's appropriate to tell Pinky Blinky Dinky the truth about his identity, the fairies usher the boy's mother to the teddy bears' house. Pinky Blinky Dinky's not sure he wants to be a little boy—"I want to hide in cupboards and go on picnics and play in the woods with my friends"—until his mother reassures him that little boys get to do just those things. Cuddle, too. In time to celebrate the 100-year birthday of the teddy bear, Willis's (The Truth or Something, p. 669, etc.) tale is an artful, deep reminder of how pleasurable it is for kids to have teddy in attendance, trucked around by the arm or leg, a steady, sturdy companion. Varley's pen-and-wash art has teddy's essential qualities: homey, disheveled, and warm. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
WHY IS THE SKY BLUE? by Sally Grindley
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1997

Old and young meet for an exchange of life's lessons in this latest offering from Grindley (The Big Crocodile Book, 1993, etc.). Rabbit and Donkey live in the same field, but in different worlds. Donkey is old, wise, and slow; Rabbit is everywhere, and bristling with questions. Donkey is happy to explain it all if Rabbit will sit still. Rabbit's patient attendance, however, is more easily promised than accomplished, and his joy in movement is apparent in Varley's blithe watercolors, which rely heavily on cartoony whiz lines to limn action. When one day Rabbit erupts from the lesson and stays away long enough to arouse concern, Donkey seeks him out, making new discoveries along the way. Rabbit, stuck in the middle of a bush, shows Donkey things he's never seen before, and comes up with an answer to the question of the title: The sky is blue ``because that was the only color left in the paint box.'' Donkey's amusement at this unleashes his own exuberance, and his behavior is more typical of Rabbit's than his own stately ways. A wry and gentle book of friendship and discovery. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
LOLLOPY by Joyce Dunbar
by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Susan Varley
ANIMALS
Released: March 31, 1992

An appealing story with a plot that's sort of a cross between The Velveteen Rabbit and Blueberries for Sal: Since she's not supposed to go into the woods alone, Sophie takes her toy bunny (Lollopy) with her, but forgets him while she's picking bluebells. Lollopy is discovered by real little rabbits, who take him deeper into the woods (where they're not supposed to go) and drop him after frightening each other with ``Bogey-Rabbit'' stories. Next day, Lollopy's ear is torn—a fox? Mother Rabbit mends him and leaves him by a tree; Sophie and her mother come back, find him, and are puzzled: `` `Who could have patched him up?' `And who made him a bluebell chain?' '' Varley's pen-and- watercolor illustrations are a gentle and expressive match for the graceful, economical text. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >