About the Book
George is alone again with his grandma. Most grandmas are sweet and friendly — but not George's Ggrandma! She's nasty, she yells at George all the time, and she might even be a witch! George has had enough of his grouchy grandma. He thinks the solution might be to replace her regular medicine with some marvelous medicine that he will make out of all sorts of ingredients. George's medicine works so marvelously well that Grandma — and his family — will never be the same again!
The story begins when George's mother goes into town, leaving George all alone with his grandma. Encourage your students to think of other examples of stories where the action begins as soon as the parents leave. (If they have difficulty, you can prompt them with a title, and ask specific students for a summary.) Some examples are The Cat in the Hat, Mary Poppins, and Home Alone. Read them the first few pages of George's Marvelous Medicine and ask your students to make predictions of what they think might happen.
Marvelous Medicine Punch
After your class finishes reading George's Marvelous Medicine, celebrate with your own Marvelous Medicine Punch! Make it in a big punch bowl with a ladle, and for a really great effect, use dry ice around the punch bowl to create a magical, misty look! There are many punch recipes that you can follow: maybe you'd like to make a super fruit punch by mixing together juices like orange, cranberry, and pineapple, or maybe you'd like to combine sherbet and ginger ale together for a sweet, fizzy punch. We have listed our own suggestion below:
- 2 c. boiling water
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 pt. cranberry juice
- 1/2 c. fresh orange juice
- 2/3 c. fresh lemon juice
- 5 tea bags
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 1/2 c. water
- orange slices
- whole cloves
Pour boiling water over tea bags and spices. Cover and let steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in sugar. Cool. Add water and juices. Chill. Garnish with orange slices stuck with cloves. Makes 2 quarts.
Adventures in Baby-sitting
George's adventures begin when his mother goes into town, leaving his grandma to baby-sit him. Encourage your students to write about their own funny or interesting experiences with baby-sitters. You might want to get them in the spirit by asking them about baby-sitting experiences they have had. Who has had the all-time best baby-sitters… And whose baby-sitters have been the all-time worst? Ask your students to write down a funny, crazy, frustrating, or interesting story about a baby-sitting experience they have had.
Once they have written their stories, ask your students if they would like to volunteer to read their stories aloud. They probably have some great stories to share, maybe even as wild as George's own story!
George mixes all sorts of ingredients into his medicine, including paint, antifreeze, and medicine for animals. In the story it has magical effects, but in real life the medicine would hurt whoever drank it. Lead your class in a discussion about ingesting poisonous substances. Begin by clearly emphasizing that George's medicine is only magical because it is in a made-up story. Ask your students if they can name any ingredients in George's medicine that would be poisonous to drink (the ones listed above, as well others such as flea powder, engine oil, and sheep dip). What other poisonous substances do your students know to avoid? Encourage them to think of poisonous plants, snakes, and insects, as well as liquids. Finally, ask your students if they know what to do if they, or a friend or family member, accidentaly ingested something poisonous (call 911 or the Poison Control Center).
Point of View
Begin this exercise by asking your students two questions, to respond to orally or to write down their answers:
How did you like the characters in George's Marvelous Medicine?
Who is the narrator of George's Marvelous Medicine?
(Make sure that they understand that George was the narrator of this story.) When your students have answered these questions, ask them if the way they felt about the characters was the way that George felt. Probably many students do, because George was a sympathetic, likeable narrator. Ask your students to think about how the book would have been different if it had been told from the point of view of Grandma. After a minute of brainstorming, ask them to answer the following specific questions:
- How does Grandma feel toward George?
- What words would Grandma use to describe George?
- How would you guess that Grandma feels about George's mother and father?
- How would the story be different if Grandma was the narrator?
Extended Writing Activity
Ask your students to rewrite the story as Grandma's Marvelous Medicine. This time, Grandma is the narrator, and even though the important events will stay the same, it will certainly be a different story. Maybe she says or does things that George didn't even know about. Encourage your students to be creative.