Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Mr. George Baker

Hest, Amy (Author)
Muth, Jon J. (Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2007. 32 pages
First published: 2004
ISBN: 9780763633080 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

On the surface, Mr. George Baker and Harry have little in common. Tall, gangly and black, Mr. Baker is 100 years old. Harry is a young white schoolboy. Yet mornings find these two friends sitting side-by-side, hugging their knees on George’s porch. Carrying their red book bags, they then walk hand-in-hand onto the school bus where again they sit together, though everyone wants George to sit with them. Both are headed to school to learn how to read. George, a “drummer man,” never learned how and he says “that must be corrected,” although both George and Harry find it hard.

The story is told in Harry’s voice with the light, engaging rhythm of George’s drumming. “See his pants, all baggy, baggy, baggy? What holds them up – suspenders!” He describes George’s “crookedy fingers” flying across his knees, “Tappidy-boom. Tappidy-boom. Tappidy-boom-boom-tap.”

Characters are tenderly depicted: Mrs. Baker brings a bag lunch to George, “the man I love;” Harry tells how neighbours come by to hear the elderly musician play on his porch.

Soft, large watercolour images reflect the musical and often loving tone of the words and the warm feelings between the characters. The words and images, showing a special intergenerational friendship, will draw the reader back again and again.

  •  

    How does the author slowly reveal the relationship between Mr. George Baker and Harry? What clues in the pictures and text help you figure it out as you read?

  •  

    Discuss the author's use of repetition. Why do you think she chose to write this way?

  •  

    Why do you think George and Harry are friends? Discuss the benefits of having a friend who is much younger or much older than you. Make connections with other texts or personal experiences.

  •  

    Based on the cover, make predictions about the story.

  •  Discuss what helps you understand the relationship between Mr. Baker and Harry.
  •  

    Take personal or class notes on the way the author describes Mr. Baker. Think of an older person you like, such as a grandparent or friendly neighbour. Use the author’s style as a model for writing a description of this person.

  •  

    Compare and contrast the characters in this book and those in Jeremiah Learns to Read. Use a graphic organizer to show your understanding of the two stories. Discuss how literacy is important in everyone’s life.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life