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George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

George’s Marvellous Medicine is a creative, engaging and adventurous story. Teachers have a wide range of uses of this book within the classroom; cross-curricula.

This book can be used during story time; it focuses more on the text rather than using visual illustrations. This will enable children to use their imagination while following the text being read to them.

During English sessions George’s Marvellous Medicine can be used as an example for work on reading and writing poems; using rhyming words and alliteration. Road Dahl uses: ‘So give me a bug and a jumping flea, Give me two snails and lizards three’, ‘slimy squiggler’ (pg. 15).

When working with KS2 pupils in Science, they can look at all the ingredients George added to his medicine; identify the different materials/substances used and divide them into different categories.

Get your students to design their own medicine; What ingredients would they use? What would it look like? What would it do? Art can be used to create these works into a poster/ display.

Overall this is an exciting and magical book. Roald Dahl’s use of ‘marvellous’ language connects and engages his readers to join in the adventure with him. 


A funny, magical tale about an ordinary boy and his grumpy Grandma!

Reader's Reviews

Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine is a fantastic read. It follows a boy called George who has to look after his awful Grandma whilst his mum goes out. Dahl’s initial description of George’s Grandma immediately gets the reader on side, there is a whole section where Grandma is trying to frighten and terrorise George with her wicked lies and twisted imagination. When George has to give Grandma her medicine he comes up with a plan, to make a concoction of anything and everything he can find with some quite startling results.

I initially heard this story being read to a year 2 class and was struck by how much the children loved the use of adjectives to describe the different ingredients. The children thought the book was hilarious and were eager to hear more every day. I thoroughly enjoyed the story however some people may be wary as it is based on how to poison an evil old woman so this may not be suitable for very young children. Never the less, the detailed description is brilliant.

I think this book would be an excellent example of something parents can read with their children for enjoyment, or a book children could read to their parents if they were particularly confident readers. This book is packed with funny and exciting language and also has some short comical poems. I would recommend this book for parents to read to their children as the constant use of brilliant vocabulary creates an exciting rhythm.

Overall I would recommend this book for children aged 6 and over to read with their parents, or older more confident readers to read to their parents or for themselves as I think they would love going on this exciting and funny journey with George to get some pay back on his horrid Grandma.

Review by Kirstie Boyle

George’s Grandma is not like a typical Grandma. She doesn’t bake cakes, she doesn’t help with homework and she doesn’t play board games. George’s Grandma is grumpy, grouchy and sometimes quite nasty. When George is left to look after her one day, he decides that her usual medicine needs a bit of a change as its obviously is not doing her any good. We are guided through the process of the delightfully disgusting medicine which is sure to send shivers through Grandma’s body and result in something rather extraordinary.

Roald Dahl creates a wonderful picture and with the use of an imagination can capture the minds of readers, both children and adults. The language is witty, funny and sometimes a bit risqué but children will adore the descriptions and humour of the book. Dahl’s decision of using a boy and his Grandmother is something most children can relate to. 

I particularly enjoyed the section of George making the medicine, you could use this with children who particularly enjoy cooking. I would also recommend Roald Dahls revolting recipes which contain recipes related to Georges Marvellous Medicine.

I would recommend it for children aged 6 and above.

If you decide to read this with your child, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Review by Kate Brown

George is an 8 year old boy who is sometimes left to look after his grandmother whilst his parents go to work or go shopping. He is responsible for giving his Grandmother her medicine, but he doesn’t believe that it is doing her any good. His grandmother is not a very nice person to George. She often tells him horrible stories about witches or scares him by telling him lies about all sorts of thing such as eating cabbage with caterpillars will give him brains! George is fed up and bored and believes that making Grandma a new medicine will ‘teach her a lesson’. His medicine, created out of many wild and wonderful things found around the house does magical things to her. The story has a happy ending…for almost everybody. This is a flavour of the type of humour and magic you can expect from this story by Roald Dahl.

Book Review by Tori Edwards

This is a fun, exciting and imaginative book with creative illustrations from Quentin Blake. I would use this for Key Stage 2 students (7-11) as some of the words may be difficult to understand for younger audiences. It could be used in a number of ways in a classroom context and at home between children and parents. For instance, the fact that the medicine cannot be recreated could teach the children about consistency in scientific experiments and making these a fair test. The rhymes included in the story, such as ‘so give me a bug and a jumping flea, give me two snails and lizards three, and a slimy squiggler from the sea, could be used as a way of teaching children about rhyming couplets and writing their own poetry. Roald Dahl makes good use of similes, metaphors and alliteration giving the children a challenge in their pronunciation of words and also giving them ideas for their own writing. For example, ‘she was always complaining, grousing, grouching, grumbling, griping about something or other’ and ‘a small puckered up mouth like a dog’s bottom.’ The concept of making an imaginative concoction could also be used in food technology (using only edible ingredients of course) and lastly the children could write their own stories or illustrations based upon the story.

All in all a brillaint story for children that they will find interesting, funny and exciting.

Book review - by Matthew Taylor

George’s Marvellous Medicine encapsulates notions of discovery, creativity and mischievousness that the vast majority of children can identify with. The novel follows George’s journey, as he creates his marvellous medicine, in the hope that he may cure his selfish grandmother of her nasty ways. Having created his concoction, the novel imaginatively follows the tribulations of George and his father as they struggle to re-create his initial formula. In following the chain of events, George’s Marvellous Medicine is both relatable and easy to read. Moreover, the illustration that accompanies the novel further serves to embellish the nastiness of the grandmother, often leaving the reader fully supportive of George’s reasoning.

In terms of relevance, as one of the most accessible novels from the Roald Dahl collection, its potency lies in the moral implications and themes that run throughout; with particular reference to the greed of George’s father. The emotions that George experiences are akin to those that the majority of children will develop throughout their time in primary school, for instance, like George, many pupils will identify with the urge to explore. This exploration may not include the creation of a marvellous medicine, but George’s imagination still represents the underlying urge to use their surroundings, and to push boundaries.

Further, due to its simplicity, the novel is useful throughout the latter stages of key stage 1 and throughout key stage 2. Within the classroom, the book can be implemented and explored across the curriculum. For instance, it is possible to create a timeline of events, create alternate endings and even attempt to recreate the marvellous medicine, albeit with a different set of ingredients.  Ultimately, one of the major strengths of the book is that regardless of reader’s age, the story will evoke a different emotion, ranging from sheer intrigue and amusement, to genuine concern for the grandmother.

Given this, I would also encourage parents or carers to repeatedly use this book with children, as the endearing humour will always encourage imagination and creativity.

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 6-11
  • Reading Aloud Age: 10 plus

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