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The Thing About Georgie Paperback – August 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—This story about the trials of a fourth grader who is a dwarf will entertain and enlighten kids. About to become a big brother, Georgie worries that the baby will grow bigger than he and fulfill his musician parents' hope for a child who can play an instrument. At the same time, Georgie fears that Andy, who's been his friend since kindergarten, likes the new boy better. When Georgie's parents leave him at Andy's house on Christmas Eve, he finds himself being unexpectedly cruel and losing the friendship. Georgie is also assigned to do a project on Abraham Lincoln with Jeanie the Meanie, who puts his name in for the role of the lanky president in a class play. Stuck with the nomination, he's able to give a commanding performance-with Jeanie's help. Andy lets Georgie know he misses him, and his loving parents, who have been somewhat oblivious to his concerns, also come through. Commentary to readers throughout about what Georgie can and can't do is delivered by an anonymous voice, whose identity is revealed as a surprise at the end.—Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Nine-year-old Georgie has height issues. As a dwarf, he isn't likely to grow much taller than his current 42 inches. Consequently school furniture is awkward, running track or playing a musical instrument isn't possible, and he knows his soon-to-be new sibling will quickly outgrow him physically. To make matters worse, he's had a misunderstanding with his best friend, Andy, and is being forced to partner with Jeanie the Meanie for a school report. Given these circumstances, this might easily have been depressing. Instead, first novelist Graff employs a light touch, turning in a poignant, often funny exploration of what it means to celebrate one's skills rather than lamenting one's limitations. Graff makes good use of an anonymous narrator (revealed in the last chapter to be one of the book's main characters), who provides kid-friendly information about dwarfism. An upbeat and sensitive look at what it's like to be different, this novel will spark discussion. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060875917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060875916
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Graff is the author of several middle-grade novels, including THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE, UMBRELLA SUMMER, and A TANGLE OF KNOTS. She enjoys reading, baking, and playing board games. She is exceedingly proud to have twice placed fourth from last at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. A former children's book editor, Lisa now writes full-time from her home in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Herold on March 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fourth-grader Georgie has a good life. He has loving, talented parents--both professional musicians. He has a best friend, Andy, with whom he runs a profitable dog-walking business. He has a crush on the prettiest girl in his grade. And, oh yeah, he's also a dwarf.

Georgie has become used to the special accommodations made for him in school and at home. The janitor has placed his coat hook lower than those for the other students. His parents have taped Popsicle sticks to light switches so Georgie can reach them without trouble. And Georgie has become used to the staring and comments ever-present in his life.

All of a sudden, however, everything changes in Georgie's life. His best friend wants to include another boy, Russ, in the dog-walking business. Georgie just can't accept that Andy may make other friends and his jealousy messes up their friendship. Jeanie the Meanie, the kid everyone has known and despised since kindergarten for her erratic and sometimes cruel behavior, has made Georgie her own special project. And, Georgie's parents make a big announcement: Georgie is going to be a big brother! And the new not a dwarf:

"One day this kid, the one who wasn't even born yet, was going to be bigger than he was. It wouldn't take very long either; there were five-year-olds the same height as Georgie. Somehow it had never bothered him too much before. Georgie was short, and all those other kids weren't. But the thought of some kid living in his own home, growing taller every single day made him seriously queasy." (p. 43)

Georgie's predicament, on the surface of things, seems unique.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MotherReader on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Georgie is a dwarf. That's the thing about him. But that's not what ultimately defines him. He's a boy who's having trouble with his best friend. He's a kid who is stuck with a difficult partner for a school report. He's a son who loves his parents, but worries what a new baby will do to his family. Georgie does face particular challenges, but he also sees the challenges that everyone faces all around him.

In The Thing About Georgie, the chapters are often introduced by a description of what it's like to be a dwarf. This narrator asks us to reach our arms over our heads, measure ourselves against a wall, and hold our tongue with our fingers. These exercises engage the reader in understanding Georgie much better than a mere description would have done. In the end, these opening segments relate to the story in an even more integral way.

In many children's books these days you'll find that the adults are useless, selfish, stupid, or cruel. Not so in this book. The adults are caring, kind, and supportive. They do occasionally disappoint, but not with intention or thoughtlessness. It's refreshing to read a book that doesn't pit the kid against the parents.

The Thing About Georgie is a book about a dwarf, but it's more about growing up like any kid in elementary school with regular kid problems. Overall, it was fun and interesting getting to know Georgie. I might also mention that my daughter's teacher used the book as a read-aloud in fifth grade, and with the interesting format and topics, it was VERY well-received.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harold D. Doublename on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. Lisa Graff is able to evoke feelings we all had in childhood - doubts, fears, jealousies - without once coming across as insincere or condescending to those feelings. At the same time, the reader's eyes are opened to the challenges Georgie faces in everyday life as a dwarf. The "asides" to the reader are an unusual feature - at first I found them a bit distracting, but quickly came to recognize them as a major part of the story and I enjoyed the surprise twist at the end.

I was surprised by the end of the book at how much I identified with and cared about Georgie. I imagine this would be a wonderful book to teach in elementary school, as its lessons about differences and challenges are strong without ever coming across as preachy. It's a fun book that brings you right into Georgie's world and leaves you looking at both childhood and physical challenges with a fresh set of eyes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff is about a boy (Georgie) who is a dwarf and his mom is having a baby. Georgie refers to the baby as "Baby Godzilla." To make things worse, Georgie and his friend (Andy) get into a fight. Georgie thinks that nothing can get worse but some how or rather it does. How will Georgie's life get better?

Also in the beginning of some chapters Lisa Graff asks you favors so you can understand about what dwarves can and can't do.

Do you want to hear more? Well, read the book to find out more.

I really think Lisa Graff has a talent. I recommend The Thing About Georgie.

Review by G.C.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By devotedmomof7 on January 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really like The Thing About Georgie.

Georgie is a Little Person. He has one best friend and, now, that best friend seems to be drifting to spend more time with a tall-sized popular-type kid who Georgie is certain will join his long line of personal mockers. To make matters worse, Georgie's parents have a new diversion that challenges their love for him, as well, one that might remind them of their disappointment that Georgie cannot fulfill their musical aspirations they had in their child.

Just when it seems that things couldn't get any worse, he has to play a pint-sized rendition of the country's tallest president, Abraham Lincoln, in the school play!

Will Georgie lose everything before losing his pride?

The awesome chapter beginnings challenge the young reader to put themselves in Georgie's shoes. The chapters begin with a mystery narrator asking the reader to measure distances or try to do body contortions or write with bent fingers - all tasks that give greater insight to the difficulties faced by Little People. It really gives one pause. It is an important topic, and Graff has definitely approached the subject in a creative way.

(P.S. Am I mistaken that "dwarf" - the term used in this book is politically incorrect? On TLC, the Roloffs says it's "Little People".)
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