Rise and Shine Rationale: George and Martha: Rise and Shine, by James Marshall, is an excellent book for children grades K-2. This is a book that children will love to pick up and read. The main characters are two large and lovable hippos named George and Martha. Children and adults can easily relate to the zany predicaments that these best friends get into. Also, this is an excellent reading tool. Each page is filled with words that many second graders can read with a little assistance from a teacher or reading buddy. Also, the illustrations on every other page, in my experience, keep children's attention. The format of this book will also help prepare children for future books containing a chapter format. These stories are not only fun and humorous, but they help to teach children valuable lessons about friendships.
Summary: This book is beautifully organized into five different chapters.
Two best friends, George and Martha, are the main characters. George is guilty of telling fibs in the first chapter. Every time he tries to impress Martha, she has outdone him in some way. So, he feels that he must lie to keep up. Eventually Martha finds that George is not a brave snake charmer and George confesses to fibbing. The second chapter is very humorous. Martha experiments with fleas and gets bitten badly. Next, Martha tells George that she is thinking about experiments with bees, even after being bitten badly by the fleas in the previous experiment. Chapter three involves George wanting to sleep in late and Martha wishing for him to join her on a picnic. Eventually George gets dragged out of bed by Martha and finds the picnic to be lots of fun. Unfortunately for George, Martha grows tired trying to drag him out of bed and soon falls asleep. The next Chapter involves Martha and George attending a scary movie. George says he is not afraid and will protect Martha. However, it is George who is the most scared during the movie. Being the nice person that she is, Martha allows George to feel brave by asking him to protect her on the way home. The fifth and final chapter has George retreating to his secret clubhouse. Martha gets very nosey and wants to know why she is excluded. She eventually barges in and is embarrassed when she finds that the secret club is a fan club devoted to her honor.
Author: James Marshall was born in San Antonio, Texas where his father worked for the railroad and had a dance band. James studied to play the viola and intended to have a musical career. Tragically, his hand was injured during an airplane flight and his musical career was finished. He later met Harry Allard, with whom he later wrote many picture books, when he was a student at Trinity College. James Marshall taught Spanish in a Catholic school near Boston upon graduation from college. His first book, George and Martha, was inspired by a famous play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf" in which the main characters were named George and Martha. James Marshall died in October of 1992.
Analysis: This book shows the troubles and triumphs two friends have during their friendship. These inseparable Hippos are best friends who show why their friendship will endure. They always manage to get past their minor difficulties and teach children to do the same. Children are taught the great importance of being honest and caring about their friends. One fun activity for young children would be to have each child list the events that occurred during each chapter. Next to each event, kids could draw a picture of how George and Martha felt about these events. In a similar activity, children could read through the stories and find places where they would have been angry, annoyed or upset if their friends were like either George of Martha. Finally, children would explain what they would have done and how they would resolve the present tension.