“The Garden” from “George and Martha Encore” by James Marshall

Martha was so discouraged. Her garden was an ugly mess of weeds. “I just don’t seem to have a green thumb,” she sobbed.



Read the rest by clicking below (part of our Valentine’s Day card this year and inspired by this woman’s very cool Valentine creations)


 Maurice Sendak on James Marshall and this story:

As I write this on a lovely spring afternoon and glimpse out the window the miracle of my old weeping cherry tree cascading pink blossoms, after having spent many happy hours studying and recollecting and missing James, I am reminded of a line, now full of new meaning, from ”The Last Story” in ”George and Martha Encore.” Out of love for Martha, and to ease her misery over her messy garden, George stuffs store-bought tulips into the ground. Martha catches him, and George is embarrassed. But Martha is moved. ‘‘Dear George,” she says. ”I would much rather have a friend like you than all the gardens in the world.”

Meeting George & Martha

Leo sent a card this year with a George and Martha story. If you don’t know them, they were created by James Marshall and are the perfect thing for four-year-olds. Leo already has another story picked out for a Halloween card (I didn’t know we had to do a Halloween card, but apparently, we do).

Here is more from Maurice Sendak on the brilliance of James Marshall:

The George and Martha books teach us nothing and everything. That is Marshall’s way. Just when you are lulled by the ease of it all, he pokes you sharply. My favorite poke comes at the end of ”The Surprise” in ”George and Martha Round and Round.” When George has ”a wicked idea” and hoses Martha down ”one late summer morning,” Martha screams ”Egads!” and declares war on George. Nothing he can say will soothe her wrath, but Martha suffers the consequences of her inability to forgive. She can’t tell George a funny story she’s heard because ”she and George were no longer on speaking terms.” But a falling autumn leaf does the trick. It’s George’s favorite season, so Martha goes straight to her old friend’s house and they make up and watch the autumntime together. ”Good friends just can’t stay cross for long,” George comments. ”You can say that again,” says Martha. A neat, sweet ending? Not a chance. Turn the page and there is a demented-looking Martha (how did Marshall convey dementia, malice and get-evenness with two mere flicks of his pen for eyes?), spritzing hose in hand, lying in wait for dapper George with fedora and cane to cross her path. Marshall’s last line: ”But when summer rolled around again, Martha was ready and waiting.”

Leo felt like he got to meet Martha & George tonight at the Brookline Booksmith — he spied these large & dusty stuffed versions up high on a shelf.


Above: Martha whispering in George’s ear

Below: Leo giving George a hug