Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday and I am very excited about the book I have chosen. It is so cute and so fun. You all just have to read it! Just the main character’s name alone will have you hooked! George Hogglesberry :=)
Written by Sarah Wilson
Illustrated by Chad Cameron
Tricycle Press 2004
Themes: Fitting In, School, Differences, Humor
Synopsis: (from School Library Journal) George Hogglesberry, a new second grader who has just come from the planet Frollop II, gets directions and everything else all mixed up. Things in his new school and home are so different from his former life that he worries about not being accepted, although the class rallies to help him. He has to be reminded not to walk on the ceiling, and when he floats upside down he loses his shoes. Worst of all, no one ever knows where he is going to turn up, not even George. Finally, his teacher helps him with a part in the school play and he charms everyone. Youngsters entering a new school and lacking self-confidence might find George’s bizarre situation humorous and reassuring.
Opening: “Before George Hogglesberry went into his new class, he put a nose on his face. Everyone else had a nose. George wanted one too. “It’s scary being new, ” he told his parents. “I hope they like me.”
Resources: The book includes a “Pin the Nose on George” game. I did not find other resources, so here are a few activities that I think would go well with this book.
- Writing: What do you think George’s school was like at his old home, Frollop II?
- Writing and Drawing: Without meaning to, George turned himself into a tomato, an overhead light, and the clock in the principal’s office. It seems George would turn into lots of things without meaning to. If you could turn into anything in your classroom—what would it be, and why? After writing about this, draw a picture of you as the object you chose.
- Writing: If George showed up at your school, what is the first question you would ask him?
- Writing: On the title page, there is a picture of the Hogglesberry’s spacecraft with four cardboard boxes on top. Make a list of items you think they brought with them from Frollop II. By the way, since we don’t know much about Frollop II, you can make up your own words—but be ready to explain what they mean.
- Discussion: All of us are different and that’s what makes us interesting and special. Name something interesting/special about yourself.
- Drawing: Draw, design and name your own planet complete with a spacecraft or spaceship or both.
Why I Like This Book: This is such a unique, creative book about feeling different and fitting in. I think some kids do feel like they are from a different planet, but just like George, they eventually find a way to shine. I love the the quirkiness. The Hogglesberry’s house has shoes planted along the driveway. The shrubs are trimmed in a shape reminiscent of a spacecraft. Mrs. Hogglesberry serves green beans with marshmallows stuck on the end as she says, “Drink up!” Not only is it delightful in it’s own alien way, but I believe this book is great for opening up a discussion about accepting each other’s differences. The humor will ease the tension associated with this type of discussion.
Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.