George and Martha

Book review by
Mary Dixon Weidler, Common Sense Media
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Solid, simple stories offer lessons in behavior.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The adventures of George and Martha are indicative of the beauty of true friendship, and the ups and downs that come with it. The two hippo friends learn to be honest yet courteous with each other in unique situations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

George and Martha have an extremely admirable relationship as the two friends balance each other out perfectly. Both with their own respective flaws, they have learned to respect the other hippo's opinions and take them as constructive criticisms. In the last story of this collection, George describes the concept of genuine friendship perfectly: "That's what friends are for... They always look on the bright side and they always know how to cheer you up." What is friendship without honesty, Martha reminds him. George and Martha prove to be two very positive role models in these children's stories.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the story lines are solid here, and the text is understated. The plump, lovable characters keep kids turning the pages. There are a few inappropriate scenes, such as George peeking in on Martha taking a bath, that are later courteously punished. The two hippos have found genuine friendship in each other and use that to better themselves as well their freind.

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What's the story?

How big can a friendship be? Just imagine the friendship shared by two hippos! Five stories explore issues such as vanity, privacy, and honesty. Will Martha make fun of George's gold tooth? Will there be split-pea soup for lunch again? Lessons in behavior are included in these solid, simple stories.


Is it any good?

The two hippos teach lessons about friendship, respect, and courtesy, and the delightful stories lead kids to their own conclusions about the hippos' misbehavior. Bright color washes added to expressive line drawings gently convey the warmth between Martha and George.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about George and Martha's friendship. In what ways do they show respect for each other? In what ways do they draw the line so as to not let the other "get away with anything"?

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