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Mr. George Baker
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Mr. George Baker

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  196 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
With subtlety and tenderness, Amy Hest tells the tale of an elderly man and a young boy linked by the common pursuit of learning to read, captured in expressive watercolors by Jon J Muth.

George can't read. A hundred years old, and he never learned how. "That must be corrected," says George.

George Baker and Harry don't seem the likeliest of friends. But sitting side by side
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 8th 2004 by Candlewick (first published 2004)
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Jan 22, 2013 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old man, George, and young boy, Harry, make a pair of unlikely friends. Yet they have a lot in common. They both wait on the porch for the bus to take them to school. They are both learning to read for the first time, and it’s hard, but the challenge is made easier because of the warm friendship they share.

The intergenerational relationship between Harry and George positively depicts old age, due in no small part to the affection and awe with which the young boy treats his neighbor. George i
Summary: Harry, a young schoolboy and his hundred-year-old neighbor, Mr. George Baker, wait on the steps for the school bus to come. Mr. George Baker gets on the bus with Harry, twenty-two children and four grownups. Mr. George Baker and the other grownups go to school too. They’re learning to read just like Harry.

I want to sit on the porch with Mr. George Baker and be his neighbor and friend. What a beautifully evocative and important story.

Jon Muth expressively portrays the setting and charact
Nov 25, 2011 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An older man and young boy become friends sitting on a porch while waiting for a school bus to arrive; both are learning to read, although they both are clearly at different stages in the life cycle. Mr. George Baker is learning to read at a center with other older people, while the young boy is learning to read at school.

I would use this book to help teach about the importance of reading and how older people that lived through the Great Depression and harder times in our country's history migh
Feb 24, 2011 Sheniece rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discussions
A lot of times children believe that adults don't have to learn the same thing they learn. In this story a 100 year old man goes back to school to learn how to read. After reading this story your students may wonder why and adult is going to school to learn to read. This would be the perfect time to have a discussion with you students about the ever lasting process of learning. It doesn't matter how old you are you can still learn. It would also be a good time to discuss the importance of learni ...more
Mattie Weck
I really loved this book, especially because it is unlike any story I have read in the past. I particularly like that the story displays a friendship between the main characters that is both intergenerational as well as interracial. The two main characters are Harry (a young boy) and George (an African-American man who is said to be 100 years old). Both of the characters are currently attending to school, because they cannot read. The author shows the many dimensions to George, and includes his ...more
Mar 31, 2008 Terri rated it really liked it
Harry, the young protagonist in this first-person narrative, enjoys his 100-year-old neighbor, Mr. George Baker. George is a former drummer, and Harry loves to watch his fingers fly, pounding out rhythms on his knees as the two wait for the school bus each morning. Together George and Harry ride the bus and go to classes where each is learning to read. This gentle book stresses the importance of reading for all ages and the beauty of friendship across generations.
Courtney Weber
Personal Reaction:
This book was a fun read because it involved so many different things. The characters ranged from a young schoolboy named Harry to a hundred year old man named Mr. George Baker. There was dancing, relaxing, drumming, and learning how to read. The book was back and forth and back and forth which is what I enjoyed the most.

This would be a good independent read for first grade. This is right around the time that they should be able to read a book such as Mr. George Baker
Kirstin Kemppainen
This book was a story about a elderly man and a child both going through the experience of going to school. I liked how this booked exaggerated words and made it sound like the boy was telling the story, not in perfect English. Very good book overall and I like the illustrations.
Sep 02, 2009 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great, and really shows how important literacy is. Mr. George Baker is a 100 year old man who is learning to read along side his seven year old friend, Harry. I would recommend this book to anyone reading to students pre-k through third.
Stephanie Smoot
Apr 22, 2010 Stephanie Smoot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Teaches students it's never too late to accomplish your goal and that sometimes people who we think are different may posse’s similar qualities.
Collin Powell
Mr. George Baker is a picture book by Amy Hest. This is about a hundred year old drummer man and a young school boy who gain an unusual friendship by sitting on a porch together waiting for a bus. We learn that they both struggle with reading.

I ended up loving this book! It was written in the child's innocent and blunt perspective. I liked how how the kid didn't see anything wrong with a hundred year old man going to school. I think this would be a good book to teach that you're never too old to
Jul 22, 2013 Marilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This tender picture book is a story of a beautiful friendship between two unlikely people. They are neighbours and Mr. George Baker is one hundred years old while his friend Harry is only in first grade. Each morning they sit together on George's porch and suck chocolate candies while waiting for the bus to take them off to school. You see George was an African-American jazz drummer in his prime, but unfortunately was never taught to read. He knows that his illiteracy problem needs to be correct ...more
Amy Forrester
Dec 02, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the morning Harry walks to the house next door and sits down next to his friend, Mr. George Baker, and they wait. Mr. George Baker is a hundred years old, no kidding, but he never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. And they wait. George is a drummer man and his crookedy old fingers beat out a rhythm on his knees, “tappidy-boom-boom-tap.” Finally, the school bus arrives and although George is popular with everyone on the bus, he always sits by Harry. Each and every day ...more
Feb 27, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars
I really enjoyed this book. A little boy and a 100 year old man.
A 100 year man who can't read....and at age 100...he goes to school to learn to read. WOW!

Now, I don't know if this story is true, but I did read a story about a man who learned to read in his 80s and wrote a little book.

I guess it is never too late to do something you want to do!? RIGHT?
George Baker and his young white friend spend a lot of time together and ultimately ended up going to the same school. The pair going to school together is quite strange since Mr. George Baker is 90 years old and his friend appears to be around ten years old. Students could do a follow up critical thinking activity on this “strange situation”. Have students come up with various reason or stories behind why Mr. Baker is just know going to school to learn how to read. Then, you can slide in the fa ...more
Quadeema Jackson
Mr. George Baker is a old African American man who never learned how to read. George who use to be a drummer, has decided that needs to corrected. He begins going to school so he can learn how to read. George begins a relationship with his neighbor, Harry. Harry is a young boy who attends the same school as George. They ride the bus together and keep each other company while they wait to attend school. Harry, who is also struggling with learning how to read is a support system for George. This c ...more
Elizabeth Littleton
Mr. George Baker by Amy Hest is a story of a 7-year old boy and 100-year old man who become friends riding a bus to school. This book would be a great mentor text to use for making inferences and teaching show-not-tell writing. After reading the book I would make a chart of Mr. Baker's description, dialogue and actions and have student make inferences about each one using clues they gained from the story. I would then have students refer back to the book. From this, students would be able to see ...more
This book is sweet, heartwarming, and poetic. It is written in an easy-to-access style with lots of rhythm and attitude. Inspiring to people of all ages who are learning how to read.
It’s a book that brings some tears, about a little boy telling the story of his next-door neighbor, Mr. George Baker, the hundred year old man who is learning to read. The brief text along with the pictures tells enough to be inspired, for the friendship between these two unlikely friends, the boy and his neighbor, a drummer who still dances with his wife and rides the bus to school with all the kids, to learn to read. A special book bound to bring conversation about the blessings of reading, ho ...more
Nov 03, 2013 Relyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: spotted at my library
Shelves: lawsonland
I loved this story of a man who knew it is never too late to learn. It's the story of a man and a boy and an unlikely friendship. It's the story of perseverance and a thirst for knowledge. It's about kindness and commitment and not letting something as silly as age get in the way of learning or friendship. It's a marvelous book.

Classroom Connections
- character lessons on perseverance or friendship
- to spark discussions right before Grandparents' Day
- onomatopoeia
- as a read aloud / think al
Katie Shaw
Sep 16, 2012 Katie Shaw rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely story about a grade school boy and a one hundred year old man who are learning how to read together. I believe this story creates a sense of confidence in young readers. They can relate to the boy and realize they aren't the only ones learning how to read, but at the same time realize that they can help other people read as well. This book is beautifully written and will, without a doubt, be on my future classroom bookshelf!
Amber Adams
Apr 08, 2013 Amber Adams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-2, writers-craft
LOVED THIS BOOK! It tells the story of two unlikely friends who are learning to read together.This book uses dialogue along with sensory details (Brown baggy pants with two side pockets, and two in back. There‟s candy in those pockets. Little chocolate candies in twisty silver wrappers) to allow us to "get to know" the characters. I will use this book to teach students how to add dialogue to their stories and use supporting details.
May 01, 2011 Cornelius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-studies
The book is about a 90-year-old African American man and a young ten-year-old Caucasian boy going to school together. I would use this book in the classroom to ask students why is a 90-year-old man going to the same school as a ten-year-old boy. The book contains poetry and rhyming. I would recommend "Mr. George Baker" for Social Studies integration because of the culture,race/ethnicity, and core democratic values.
This book had a sweet message. I liked how the story captured a short moment in time and illustrated friendship and learning. The illustrations were nice as well, I'm fond of Jon J. Muth's watercolors. I'd probably recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Mary Sesar
This book is about a little boy who is going to school and learning how to read. An older man who never learned how to read is also learning. This could teach students that your never too old to learn something new. It also can teach them about black history and how years ago blacks weren't ever taught how to read.
Tara Mensing
This is a sweet, catchy book with nice rhymes and repetition. It's predictable where children can question "What are they waiting for?", as the old man and young boy sit on a front porch. LOVE this book because it gives the wonderful message that you're never too old to learn.
Jul 11, 2007 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
A nice story about an African American elderly gentleman and a young boy who are both going to school to learn to read. The story takes place on Mr. Baker's front porch as the two wait for the bus to arrive.

Published in 2004.

Nicely illustrated. Plot is easy to follow.
Jan 16, 2015 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
You are never too old to learn - that's the message of this wonderful tale about a young boy and an older gentleman preparing for a day of school. The narrative is short and the illustrations are wonderful. We really enjoyed reading this book together.
Apr 06, 2009 Chak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid
About an old jazz drummer (100 years old) who is learning to read along with his young friend. Touching and a nice, gentle way to demonstrate the importance of reading and how other people may have a hard time, too. Mr. Baker is a great character.
Jun 27, 2007 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I sat with my daughters and read this book not expecting it to be about adult literacy. A beautiful story of people, the gift of reading and the love of living. I salute both the author and the illustrator for such a richly created book.
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Amy Hest is a three-time winner of the Christopher Medal and winner of the BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award. She lives in New York City.
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