A little boy named Harry sits on a porch with his friend, Mr. George Baker, who “is a hundred years old, no kidding….all snappy and happy in the morning.” Almost every day they meet– sitting, waiting, sharing chocolate candies the way that true friends do.
Each of them has a red book bag with a book inside, a book that neither of them has yet learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says Mr. George Baker.
As they wait, Mr. George Baker taps out rhythms with “his crookedy fingers.” “He’s a drummer man,” Harry explains, “Some people say he’s famous.”
The school bus pulls up, George and Harry get on board and go off to school, where they sit in separate rooms, learning how to sound out letters in their green books.
“It’s hard,” complains Harry.
“We can do it,” says Mr. George Baker.
This picture book is a tribute to literacy that soars and sings. Every word is economical, precise, and forms the kind of images that we look for in poetry. Mr. George Baker, with his “crumpled hat and his long stretchy legs,” a Dixieland drummer who still dances with his ninety-year-old wife, is revealed by Amy Hest‘s lyrical text as much as he is by Jon J Muth‘s pale and misty illustrations. He and Harry, united in friendship and their quest for literacy, become permanent residents in the imaginations of all who encounter them in the pages of this lovely, magical story.
This Reading Rainbow selection is a book that demands to be read aloud to anyone and everyone within earshot.