I picked up a staff-recommended book at Powell’s around the holidays and it has become a new favorite: George and Martha, The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends, by James Marshall, with foreward by Maurice Sendak (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008).
Throughout the 35 stories included in this compilation, George and Martha kid, harass, cajole, misunderstand and make up. They try to impress and one-up, but also support and encourage. They warn against mistakes and disaster, then counsel and sooth with great tenderness when such misfortune comes to pass.
As with any old and dear friends, they have found a way to put up with each other’s idiosyncrasies on the one hand, and delight in them on the other hand.
James Marshall’s warmth and wickedness are supremely evident in his George and Martha series. Hysteria lies just below the surface of his impeccably crafted illustrations and between the lines of his deceptively simple prose.
Included in this 360 page book are appreciations by children’s book author/illustrators who knew James Marshall personally. Their rememberances help define just what it was about Mr. Marshall that informed his perfect storytelling.