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George and Martha
ISBN 0395851580 / 9780395851586 / 0-395-85158-0
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
List price $25.00
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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) [via]