Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Susan and the Rain by Madye Lee Chastain

Here in southwest Missouri it's been raining for days!

When I was a child, on rainy days like these, my mother would pull out Volume 1 of my favorite set of books, The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls, and, together, we would read Susan and the Rain by Madye Lee Chastain.

The other night, while listening to the rain, I suddenly got an overwhelming desire to revisit my old friend, Susan Amantha Cottonwood. The problem was, I had lent Volume 1 of my favorite set of books to one of my granddaughters.

I tried to find the story online, but couldn't find it anywhere! So, after making a call to my daughter, and making sure it was okay to come over at such a late hour, I went and got my Volume 1 of The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls and revisited my dear, old, childhood friend, Susan Amantha Cottonwood.

I'd like to share that story with you here in hopes that you, in turn, will share it with your own children on beautiful, rainy days!

Are you ready? Here we go...

Susan and the Rain
By Madye Lee Chastain

Susan Amantha Cottonwood
  was a little girl
     who was always good - 
        when the sun shone.

But when the clouds piled up in the sky
And began to rain - she would cry!
    And cry and moan!
Susan Amantha hated the rain.
She would press her nose to the window-
   And complain, And complain,
       And complain!

"There's nothing to do if I can't play
If the sun was out, I'd take my doll for a 
I'd bounce my ball, I'd swing on the gate;
I'd go round the block on one roller skate, 
But there's nothing to do in the whole
        wide world-
   When it rains!"

Now one summer she went to the coun-
    To visit her grandpapa,
And her uncles and aunts and cousins,
    And her grandmamma.

She played in the barn on the piles of hay,
She played in the meadow the livelong
The sun shone bright and Susan was gay!
But one day   It rained!
               And Susan complained!   

Her gandpapa was amazed to hear
So many complaints and he said, "I fear
You don't know why we have the rain
Or you wouldn't complain!"

"We have the rain to water the crops,
To make fine lettuce and big beet tops.
It makes the corn tall, row on row,
And the apples juicy and the blackberries
It fills the rivers and streams and lakes.
It softens the soil the gardener rakes.
It washes the dust from all the leaves
And makes a song as it drips from the 
Why, nothing would grow on our very 
       own farm
If it didn't rain.
   Susan - don't complain!"

Susan Amantha Cottonwood
Told grandpapa that she understood,
But just the same
   It wasn't much fun
       When there was no sun!

Susan went home and though she tried,
Nevertheless, when it rained, she cried.
Until . . .
One day the postman rang the bell.
Mother opened the door and said, "Well,
Here's a package for Susan from Grand-

When Susan got the strings untied
And opened the box, she found inside,
A bright red umbrella, shiny black boots
And a red plaid raincoat
With a rainhat to suit!

Well, the next time it rained
Did Susan complain?
She put on her boots
And her raincoat and hat
And she took her umbrella and went
Out in the rain -
     And in all the puddles!

Rain thumped her umbrella,
Rain spattered her coat;
each boot was as wet as a shiny black
She splashed and she sploshed,
As happy as could be, and she said,
       "Why the rain is fun,
       And it's raining just for me!"

Found this image of the 1947 of edition of Susan and the Rain on Amazon 5/23/15. Lovely! <3


  1. I have this book from my own childhood but it's missing the last few stanzas, so I was SO thrilled to find the missing words in your blog. Thank you!

  2. Thank you. I just LOVED this book as a child. My mother could recite way too much of it, years later, after having read it to me so many times.

    1. I'm so glad to know that there are other "Susan" fans out there. So glad you found and enjoyed it, Anonymous! <3

  3. I loved Susan and the Rain as a child and made my mother read it to me so often I memorized it. I still remember it to this day, but have some serious gaps. Thanks for publishing it and filling in those gaps.

    1. You are welcome, Anonymous! I'm glad you found it and could fill in those gaps. Susan and the Rain is a wonderful story and, to this day, a good rainy day always takes me back to it! <3

  4. Thank you very much, brought back childhood memories..

    1. You're welcome, Nancy! I'm so glad that we share this delightful memory! <3

    2. I loved this book growing up I am 67 now and my mother read it to me so much she had it memorized. Thank you for sharing the words, I treasure this memory

  5. Thank you very much !! a childhood favorite !

    1. You're welcome, Nancy! I'm so glad that we share this delightful memory! <3

  6. I found this today after Googling "Susan Amantha Cottonwood." THANK YOU SO MUCH for putting this on your blog. I grew up in Illinois and LOVED this book. So many happy memories of one parent or the other reading this with me. My name is Susan and whenever I complained my parents would tease me that I was being like Susan Amantha Cottonwood. I haven't seen these words for 60 years. What a wonderful gift. Thank you again.

    1. You're welcome, Susan! I'm so glad you found it and that it has blessed you! Have a wonderful day! <3

  7. My grandfather gave this book to me when I was a young girl. I loved it, especially because it was a gift from him, but also because my name was Susan and so was the girl's name in the book! I would love to find a copy; mine fell apart from use!

    1. I've never seen Susan and the Rain in book form...only in The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls series/set. My mother bought a set brand new when I was two and I wore it out; my cousin found a set a yard sale and they were in really nice condition, so he bought them for me and delivered them to me in person...2 1/2 hours away from where he lived! (He knew how much I loved them!) I was so grateful! And Susan and the Rain is one of the first stories I read in them. :) So...they're out there. Have you tried Abe Books? They have a lot of those really old books. You might periodically check Amazon and Ebay, too. You never know when one might show up! Good luck finding a copy of your own! If all else fails, if you want to send me your address, I'd be happy to make a copy of my own Susan and the Rain and send it to you. If you want to do that just send an email to me at and put SUSAN AND THE RAIN on the subject line so I don't miss it. Have a blessed day! <3

    2. Susan, just found this online...

  8. Thank you for putting this poem on the internet. We had it in a book when I was a child, and I wanted to share it with my youngest daughter, but couldn't find it.

  9. I am so thankful to find this! My aunt is now 89, has dementia and is in a nursing home. She was a first grade teacher, and before that ran a nursery school out of her parent's (my grandparents) home and I was one of her students. I remember SO much of what she taught me, but the other day in the nursing home she started talking about Susan Amantha Cottonwood. I had never heard of it and thought most likely it was Amanda, or Samantha. I searched nursery rhymes on the web about rain, found nothing. Searched nursery rhymes Cottonwood and nothing. And then I tried Susan Amantha Cottonwoodm nothing more, and found this. She will be so delighted when I go there tomorrow and read this to her. Thank you so very much!

    1. How wonderful! I'm so glad that you found this post and I am super glad that you'll be able to share it with your aunt tomorrow! I hope she enjoys it!

  10. I, too, loved this book as a child and was looking for a copy a few years ago. I could remember much but not all of it. Thankfully, we have the Internet and I was able to track it down and buy a copy. But the other nice thing was that in the search I made contact with another woman who shared my love for the book. We began corresponding and now have been pen friends for several years. Thank you, Susan Amantha.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story about "Susan and the Rain" with me, Dee! It's always nice to meet another Susan Amantha Cottonwood fan! <3

  11. Thank you so much for putting this on line. My mother read this to me as a child over and over as it was my favorite. The book is gone , as is my mother, but reading it here brought happy tears to my eyes as my mom's voice read it to me in my head. Thank you. I wish I could find a copy to read to my preschool class kids!

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I'm so glad you found 'Susan' on my blog! Thank you for taking the time to comment on it and for sharing your own sweet childhood memories. I'm in tears here just imaging you hearing your mother's voice as you read the words. So precious! I don't have a copy of the book, but I do have the story, with illustrations, in my childhood book collection. I'd be happy to make and share a copy with you. If you are interested in receiving it, feel free to e-mail your name and address to me at: and I'll get it right out to you. Have a blessed day!


  12. I know it's been a while since you posted this, but I was so very pleased to find it! I never had the book, but my mother and her sisters did. My name is Susan, and whenever I'd complain in front of them, they'd say "Susan Amantha Cottonwood! Complainer, complainer, complainer." It bothered me then, but now, since they are all gone, I treasure the memory. I didn't know where it came from, so I was so happy to find the text here! Thank you so much!

    1. Well, Susan, you are very welcome!!! I'm glad you found it, too! Thanks for sharing your story with me. I love Susan Amantha Cottonwood and am glad you can appreciate her now, too! Blessings! <3

  13. So excited to see the whole book here. If you asked me and my sister, now in our 70s, about a book from our childhood, we would answer, "Susan Amantha Cottonwood was a little girl who was always good...."
    I loved that book!

    1. I'm so happy to meet so many others who are as big of Susan Amnatha Cottonwood fans as I am. It's exciting!!! Thanks for commenting, Arlene! <3

  14. So excited to see the whole book here. If you asked me and my sister, now in our 70s, about a book from our childhood, we would answer, "Susan Amantha Cottonwood was a little girl who was always good...."
    I loved that book!

    1. So glad you found this post, Arlene! Thanks for dropping in! <3

  15. Searched for my copy of this darling book,, since it has been raining a lot here in S..CA (ok.. we need it, but I admit I still become a tad like Susan.. at age 67 ..and even now ..haa) so I recalled this storybook of Susan & the Rain and how she complained and complained and complained.. ..Yes & this from age 3 & how my mother also read it to me..and yesterday was telling my husband(of 42 years..who has put up with my other WEATHERED complaints as well) about this book~Thanks soo much for posting the words once again.I kind of .wish I had the illustrations (semi in my head to view ) too??This .. as I taught first grade many moons ago 60ties & 70tie.. . & read it to also K & Preschool kids when it LV, Nevada.. .. ha.. OH I may have given the book to another teacher back when , when I became a SAHM in the 80ties ??This kind of brought tears to my reflection as of now ..Guess I need some shiny new black rain boots? ha. ..,OK Thanks again??..

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It amazes me to see how many people out there have found this post while looking for the book. Until this post I thought I was the only one in the world who even knew about Susan Amantha Cottonwood! Am so blessed to know that I am not alone. <3

  16. I'm so glad you took the time to comment! This post has blessed so many and I treasure the memory, as well! Thanks for sharing! <3

  17. Thank you so much! My mum, an 85 year old retired teacher, remembers this as a poem her students loved hearing her read. She asked me to search for it so she could read it to her youngest granddaughter. I'm nothing short of elated! Thank you so much!

  18. Well I'm elated, too, Jo! Am glad to be of help to your dear mum (and you!). I am amazed at the number of people that have found this and commented on it! What a blessing! Enjoy! <3

  19. I remember the poem about the need for rain from "Susan and the Rain" but I remember the last stanza as "It makes a noise as it drips from the eaves and all the little bunnies hide under the leaves", My sister remembers it that way too. My mother read us the poem frequently.

  20. I've never heard the last stanza that way before and it's not in the original, but maybe somewhere along the way someone rewrote it or added it? I'm not sure, but thanks for sharing. My mother reading 'Susan and the Rain' to me as a child is one of my favorite memories, too! Blessings!


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