Oh George, Oh Martha…James Marshall’s Tons of Fun (1980) features two bosom-buddy hippos who, well, are sure to find their way to your heart in the way of long-time, zany best friends forever!
Over the course of five short stories, most of which are connected, George and Martha battle and laugh their way through various situations. What to do when a friend needs alone time? What do about the bad habits of the ones we love? What to do when a surprise misfires? These are just some of the every-day problems featured in this book, made extremely funny through the unexpected solutions and reactions of this winsome pair.
With bright colours, wonderful 80s-era illustrations, and a pretty even text-to-image ratio, Tons of Fun is great for toddlers. Unlike some more text-heavy volumes, this 47-page narrative never tests my little one’s patience. It also lends itself well to interactive activities. In addition, the reappearance of themes and objects in different capacities across the stories makes for a nice variation on repetition.
While another great used-book find, Tons of Fun and other volumes in the series are still available today. And, in fact, picking up more George and Martha is very much on my list to do. Somewhat sad that I didn’t know about these hippos sooner, I’m more than happy to enjoy their drama and absurdity with my daughter now!
For additional information, check out this vivid review by Kirkus or even a clip, by Imagination Stage, of the story in performance: