I just binge-read all of the George and Martha stories. That’s 35 stories about two best friends, who happen to be hippos. The illustrations may be flat and lacking in color diversity, but the stories are anything but flat and uncolorful. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sweet, and together, the chronicles of George and Martha show what friendship is.
Friendship is pouring split pea soup into your shoes to avoid hurting your friend’s feelings by not eating it.
Friendship is sticking store-bought cut flowers into your friend’s yard because you know they haven’t been able to grow any.
Friendship is teaching each other that dancing is fun.
Friendship is dragging each other out of the house to go on a picnic together.
Friendship is being each others’ biggest fans.
Friendship is restoring each other’s self-confidence.
Friendship is taking care of each other, without saying “I told you so.”
Friendship is asking to peek in each other’s diaries. (Martha says, “No.”)
Friendship is discovering that being alone doesn’t mean you’re no longer friends.
Friendship is sabotaging your own health to show your friend what it’s like when you watch them make unhealthy choices.
Friendship is pulling pranks on each other, like nailing their slippers to the floor, or putting plastic spiders in the cake box, or drenching them with a garden hose.
Friendship is giving gifts that you secretly want for yourself.
Friendship is critiquing each other’s art.
Friendship is wishing to share things with someone even when you are no longer on speaking terms.
Friendship is forgiveness.
And friendship is always knowing how to make each other laugh.
Images from George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends, written and illustrated by James Marshall.