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

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  10,310 ratings  ·  231 reviews
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 frien ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 27th 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1972)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
140th out of 3,331 books — 4,885 voters
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold LobelThe Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-JonesAmelia Bedelia by Peggy ParishMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
A Christian Classical School Reading List: 1st grade
18th out of 61 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

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They taught me to never say, "I told you so". Also, don't be vain, dancing is good, and you've got to be able to laugh at yourself. Probably most importantly, to say, "Voulez-vous m'embrasser?" when I want a kiss.

These stories are perfect! And so funny. I've been reading them to my soon-to-be nieces and they love them, too. Yay!

Sarah Montambo Powell.
John Fanning
Well, when reading to your 2 and a half year old you don't usually start laughing out loud. This book made me do it not once, but 3 times.

I've read a lot of kids books to my children - we don't have a TV - but George and Martha is one of the best ones. Hands down. It's a cross between Roald Dahl's children's books and David Sedaris' memoirs...

My boys (both 8) favorite story in it is the Mirror one. When asked how many stars to give the book they said 10 when I gave them the choice between 1 and
Ben Loory
god, i loved these books so much when i was little, but then somehow i completely forgot about them, until today i was in the bookstore looking for the bathroom and i stumbled on this in the children's section. i stood there and read the whole thing; i couldn't help it, it was so great, i almost cried. every story is absolutely perfect, full of wisdom and beauty and the strangest understated humor. not a word out of place, not a word too many, and the drawings make the whole thing come alive.

i u
We have the complete collection (all of the George and Martha books in one volume). This one is our favorite. Mostly because my 2 year old reads them to herself which leaves us in hysterical giggles (note, she has a hard time with "s" at the beginning of words...).

"George and Marfa and da pit pea poop. Marfa like to make poop. But George no like poop. He eat da poop. But Marfa brings more poop she make. George hide poop in his shoes. Marfa see him hide da poop. Marfa no make poop anymore. Marfa
George and Martha are the hippo version of Frog and Toad, or maybe Frog and Toad are the amphibian version of George and Martha. As a child, I made Dad read our paperback copies of these stories until the books fell apart. My favorite stories were the one where George gets a gold tooth and the one where George peeks in Martha's bathroom window, prompting her to upturn the entire bathtub onto his head.
Amy Groesbeck
I loved George and Martha when I was growing up. These books are about two hippo friends who always find themselves in hilarious and ridiculous conflicts, but yet somehow find a happy solution. You can purchase the series in a compilation or individually. I prefer the compilation, but the individual books are great for kids because they’re easier to handle. This series is perfect for early grade classrooms and emergent readers. The stories are short and composed of simple text. The George and Ma ...more
The title is speaks for itself: George and Martha are two lovable best friends who enjoy a series of mundane yet delightful "adventures" together that teach children the value of friendship without sounding at all didactic.

I think Martha's adventure with the diving board and with George's Mexican jumping bean collection are my favorites. The illustrations are just great, and I prefer the separate, soft cover books to the complete edition because, as a kid, it was always fun to check out a stack
I really liked reading George and Martha, and thought it was a wonderful inspiring book, that little kids would enjoy. It would be a great book to read to a class because it would help teach kids about the bonding of friendships and especially learning the golden rule "Treat others the way you want to be treated." I think a great activity to do with this book would be having the kids think of ways that you good be a good friend to someone and write a story about an adventure you took with this f ...more
Fantastic children stories about two best friends. I loved these stories growing up! And if you can find the hardcover version of George and Martha (not the complete stories, but the original book) it smells wonderful! I'm such a book nerd, I love the smells of certain books, and this was maybe the first book whose smell I fell in love with!
Mark Desrosiers
I never read picture books when I was a kid (it was all newspapers, street signs, and my mom's nursing textbooks for me), so I didn't encounter this series until I had to read it to other people's kids. And it blew my mind: you can tell Marshall is half-talking to us adults with his itchy relationship lessons and trickster dance maneuvers. The most sublime couple ever, these two hippos.
Mrs. Meers
You've gotta have an oddball sense of humor to really enjoy these stories-- they'll have a hilariously bizarre plot, then end abruptly! You find yourself turning the last page of each story back and forth, wondering if you skipped something. I happen to like those sorts of things, so this compilation is a favorite. I especially like the story about narcissistic Martha's mirror...
Rebecca Tenbrook
I remember growing up on books written by James Marshall. I owned many of his books when I was in elementary school and I would check his books out of the library when ever I could. I am sure I read this book when I was younger and absolutely loved it but this time I read it with a teachers eye. In this book there are 5 short stories about two hippos named George and Martha. They are silly hippos and they do silly things in all 5 stories. Each story ends with a message for the reader and usually ...more
Sep 08, 2007 Annie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: childrens
Fantastic! I think I'm going to buy this book for myself! I always loved George and Martha as a kid. It turns out I still love them as an adult! These books are so smart and funny! If I had children, I would rather have the separate books. The big book is hard to handle when reading to a child on your lap. However, as a wierdo adult, the big book works well!
The complete collection of the illustrated stories of George and Martha, two hippos who are best friends. These simple and very short stories teach some of the best lessons about friendship. There are also some great one liners: "For Shame" "I told some fibs" "We are friends but there is such a thing as privacy" "Have some consideration!"
George and Martha. SO FUNNY. Snort milk through your nose funny. These friends are prettied up or acting daintily around each other. Sometimes they get along and sometimes George does something that makes Martha want to punch him in the nose, like read her journal! A great book to read to your kids!
We love these. Marshall's work communicates hilarity and feelings with spare lines and minimal words. Borrowed from the library three years ago and spent our vacation at OBX reading it on a sunny deck to C (then 5) and N (then 2). Ended up buying a copy and they still love it.

p.s. Do you know what famous George and Martha, Marshall named his hippos after (hint: not George and Martha Washington).

It was the characters from the play/movie, Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolfe. That's how you know Marshall was awesome.
I just finished reading this book to my sweetie last night. They've been wonderful bedtime stories -- full of James Marshall's sweet and funny touches... We enjoyed this so much that we're going to read them all again!
Nov 26, 2007 Empress rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: river-horses and ambiguous river-horse suitors.
You'd be a damn fool not to love a big fat hippo with an unstoppable sweet-tooth. And besides, the word "hippopotami" is totally rad and translates awesomely into any language (as does "jellyfish" for your information.)
it is amazing what emotions marshall can convey via two short lines as hippo eyes. so funny and never pandering to the grown-ups who read it (ahem). this compilation also features a splendid introduction by maurice sendak.
Rachel Smalter Hall
George and Martha inspired me to write my own book about hippos when I was in third grade. It involved the underground railroad (which I thought was literally a railroad reached by trapdoor) and a claw-foot bathtub.
One of the greatest books in my home. A must for all ages!!! Are George and Martha a couple? Or just great friends? It doesn't matter. They find themselves in situations that everyone can relate to.
Liz Livingston
This is a great book about relationships. It has such wonderful humor, especially appreciated from the parent's side. My favorite story is the one about pea soup in the shoes.
Catriona Rogers
I loved these as a child, and all over again since I just bought this book. Read the comments by Maurice Sendak at the beginning - he explains how and why they are so wonderful.
Jul 19, 2007 Malbadeen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: believers in ambigious relationships
Shelves: picture-books
I LOVE GEORGE AND MARTHA and I always forget about them! I love the ambigious relationship that seems to pop up in childrens lit as well (Frog and Toad, Herbi and Lottie, etc).
This is a charmingly simple and funny book of short-short stories for little kids. I can't really describe it, but my niece was cracking up over these as she read them!
Kathryn Brunk

James Marshall was a children’s author and illustrator. He also has some books by the name Edward Marshall. He has simplistic way of writing and drawing that appeal to children. He created his characters George and Martha one day while his mom was watching Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and the main characters in the show inspired him.

The George and Martha are funny and creative. They are fun for children and adults to read together because of the ludicrous situations the two hippo friends find
What is it about George and Martha? It has a similar charm to Frog & Toad. Just simple, subtle, tongue-in-cheek stories. Awesome.
The Best Children's Book. Heartwarming, clever, and humorous, I loved it from its first page to its last. Highly, highly recommended.
George and Martha (and James Marshall) are completely awesome. I read the whole series many, many, many times.
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James Edward Marshall (October 10, 1942 – October 13, 1992), who also wrote as Edward Marshall, was a children's author and illustrator.

His father worked on the railroad, was a band member in the 1930s, and his mother sang in the local church choir. His family later moved to Beaumont, Texas. Marshall said: "Beaumont is deep south and swampy and I hated it. I knew I would die if I stayed there so I
More about James Marshall...

Other Books in the Series

George and Martha (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • George and Martha Encore
  • George and Martha Rise and Shine
  • George and Martha Round and Round
  • George and Martha One Fine Day
  • George and Martha Tons of Fun
  • George and Martha Back in Town
  • George and Martha: Full of Surprises
  • George and Martha: One More Time
  • George and Martha Two Great Friends Early Reader
  • George and Martha: The Best of Friends Early Reader
Goldilocks and the Three Bears The Three Little Pigs Red Riding Hood George and Martha One Fine Day George and Martha Rise and Shine

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“That's silly,' said Martha. 'Friends should always tell each other the truth.” 6 likes
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