Review Blog

Mar 26 2009

The thing about Georgie by Lisa Graff

cover image

HarperTrophy, 2008. ISBN 9780060875916
(Age: 9-12 yrs.) A school story about fitting in when you have a disability.
The cover of this book has two feet encased in sneakers dangling in space. As both laces are completely undone it suggests something weird or sinister is afoot. A strange choice for a feel good book about what it is like to be a child dwarf. The reader is invited to perform simple tasks, e.g. touching your left ear with your right arm, at random places in the book and then is reminded that Georgie can't do these things.
Georgie is a normal child with loving, musician parents and is in the American equivalent of upper primary school. He has a good friend but his world is shattered when firstly he learns he will no longer be an only child and secondly he falls out with his friend. Life becomes even more unbearable when Jeanie the Meanie is forced to be his partner for the class projects on American presidents.
Written in a very easy to read, fluent and nicely paced style, this book would be enjoyed by any middle to upper primary student. It is very American in its 'message' ending and some terminology, e.g. barfing for vomiting. It's pleasing to see, however, such words are not changed for the Australian audience as they would be in a vice versa situation.
The characters in this book behave like real children and many children will identify with the feelings that Georgie has. He has to deal with abuse in the same way as many 'different' children do. The adults are caring without being patronizing and the themes of being accepted for who you are and that everyone has hidden strengths, are, of course, relevant to all. Recommended for any primary school library.
Kevyna Gardner

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