Sunday, July 25, 2010

George and Martha, The complete stories of two best friends


Author and Illustrator-James Marshall
Foreword by- Maurice Sendak
Publisher- Houghton Mifflin Company

George and Martha, were introduced to us by the US faction of the family and we were and are completely charmed.

Universal in appeal and simple in format, the series is a bit cheeky, a little sweet, full of humour, never pedantic. It is about two friends- down to earth, adorable hippos- George and Martha and their antics.

It maybe a much franchised and well known series in the US, but in India we are not exposed to this duo in any format. There are 35 endearing and clever episodes in this collection.

Like most good friends, George and Martha, do things together, sometimes get into a soup (literally too), squabble/ hurt each other but always make up, grow and help each other. In all this they sure know how to have fun and casually teach us a thing or two about life and friendship.

The scenes swing between indoor and outdoor settings- home situations, tea time, illness, tanning, ballet class ( imagine a hippo doing that), trips to a dentist/ beach/ hot air balloon place and so on. There is no sequence in which you have to read them and each episode is a complete story by itself as well.

The illustrations are uncluttered and evocative. It is amazing how hippos lend themselves to emotions when James Marshall's hand is at work. Notice on the cover- George has a golden tooth and a cap and Martha usually has a flower.

My daughter adores this book and it is her first step ( along with Seuss and Thumb Thumb) into reading to herself.

For the adult reader, there will be many moments which will trigger an old memory, sometimes a forgotten one. Some of those moments are tender, some riotous, some embarrassing, but all things that we cherish now and which helped strengthen our friendships back then.

This book also carries appreciations, forewords, interesting tit bits about the author – James Marshall from those author/illustrators who knew him personally- enough fodder to keep an adult glued into the making of these lovable characters and the stories.

Engaging, clever, hilarious, low on word count, deceptively simple, just plain irresistible.

8 comments:

sandhya said...

Must look this up. Esp. if there is a foreword by Maurice Sendak.

Artnavy said...

You must!!

sathish said...

oh no. I did not even notice the golden tooth till you pointed it out.

The illustrations are simple, but striking.

Reminds me of the stories of Jackie and Janaki I spin for kids @ home. They squirrels though!

Thanks for a nice review Artnavy.

MindfulMeanderer said...

v nice.. how do u get hold of these books? is it a library that u borrow from or books bought earlier??

artnavy said...

satish- written u a mail

shruti- this was a gift- most close friends gift us books, i buy in hordes at book stores, on the footpath and nowadays at the airport

waiting for anush to complete reading all that we have at home before any library membership- looking at Just Books for that

Arundhati said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Will look out for this one.

artnavy said...

It is so much fun, you must Arundathi

The Book Chook said...

I don't know the series, but this one sounds absolutely delightful. I love books that show themes of friendship and accepting difference.

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