George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends (George & Martha Early Reader)

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9780395851586: George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends (George & Martha Early Reader)

George and Martha: not, as one might think, the first president and his spouse, but two hippopotamuses created by the singular talent of James Marshall. For the past quarter century, these stories have entertained, intrigued, and delighted readers of all ages. The portly animals have also taught us, in a humorous and lighthearted way, about what it means to be a true friend. A man with a talent for friendship, James Marshall defined its very essence in his stories about the world's two best friends. In this volume, all thirty-five episodes are brought together to celebrate friendship and two of the most lovable book characters ever created.

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Review:

Like all best friends, George and Martha do everything together--go to the movies, play at the beach, and just hang around not doing much of anything. No matter that they happen to be gigantic hippopotami, they learn the same lessons humans do about the ups and downs of true friendship. George and Martha teach each other (and adoring readers) that even in a close friendship, privacy is important, practical jokes can sometimes backfire, and among other things, pouring split pea soup into your loafers to spare the chef's feelings is not the best laid plan.

What's remarkable about the stories in this wonderful collection is the emotion James Marshall infuses into his understated, charming text and illustrations. Each brief tale is always humorous, never preachy, and his drawings--deceptively simple in appearance--are guaranteed to spark feelings of empathy, delight, and self-recognition. Maurice Sendak, in his foreword to this 25th anniversary compilation edition of all 35 stories, notes, "Those dear, ditzy, down-to-earth hippos bring serious pleasure to everybody, not only to children. They are time-capsule hippos who will always remind us of a paradise in publishing and--both seriously and comically--of the true, durable meaning of friendship under the best and worst conditions." (Ages 4 and up)

About the Author:

James Marshall (1942–1992) created dozens of exuberant and captivating books for children, including The Stupids, Miss Nelson Is Missing!, and the ever-popular George and Martha books. Before creating his canon of classic, hilarious children’s books, James Marshall played the viola, studied French, and received a master’s degree from Trinity College. He also doodled. It was the doodles, and the unforgettable characters that emerged from them, that led him to his life’s work as one of the finest creators of children’s books of the twentieth century. In 2007, James Marshall was posthumously awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal for his lasting contribution to literature for children.

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