George's Marvellous Medicine

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George's Marvellous Medicine
George's Marvellous Medicine first edition.jpg
British first edition hardback
Author Roald Dahl
Illustrator Quentin Blake
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Children's novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape (UK hardback)
Alfred Knopf (US hardback)
Puffin Books (paperback)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback, Paperback)
Pages 96

George's Marvellous Medicine is a children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, first published in 1981. The book was praised for its imitativeness and humour, but was also criticised for its underdeveloped plot and somewhat abrupt ending. The book is one of Dahl's shorter children's books.

A popular book for reading to children in primary/elementary school, great care was taken by teachers to warn children not to attempt to recreate the 'medicine' at home due to the hazardous nature of some of the ingredients.

An audio reading was released with Richard E. Grant narrating.


While George's parents Mr. and Mrs. Kranky are away running errands, his maternal grandma is mean to him as she bosses him around and scares him with creepy secrets. George decides to make a magic medicine to replace his horrid grandma's new medicine. He goes around the house and farm where he lives, collecting a variety of ingredients except for anything from the medicine cupboards. Ingredients include deodorant and shampoo from the bathroom, floor polish from the laundry room, horseradish sauce and gin from the kitchen, animal medicines, engine oil and anti-freeze from the garage and brown paint to mimic the color of the original medicine.

After cooking the ingredients in the kitchen, George gives some to his grandma, who grows as tall as the house, bursting through the ceilings and the roof. Also, Grandma blows up into a large balloon. He then tests it on a nearby chicken, which grows ten times in size. Mr and Mrs Kranky then return home and his mother cannot believe her eyes when she sees Grandma and the giant chicken, while his father becomes excited at the thought of giant animals and has George use the medicine on the rest of the farm's animals, causing them to become giant-sized as well. However, Grandma begins complaining over being overlooked and stuck in the roof, so Mr. Kranky hires a crane to remove her, but her extreme height means she now has to sleep in the barn.

The following morning, Mr. Kranky is still excited about George's medicine and announces that he and George shall make more medicine to sell to farmers around the world and create more giant animals, believing it will end world hunger. George attempts to recreate his medicine, but is unable to remember the ingredients. The second medicine makes a chicken grow long legs, and the third makes a chicken grow a long neck. The fourth medicine has the opposite effect of the first medicine and makes animals shrink. An angry Grandma then storms out of the barn, once again sick of being ignored. She then sees the cup of medicine that George was testing before and mistakes it for tea before snatching it out of George's hands, much to his and Mrs. Kranky's horror and Mr. Kranky's delight. She drinks the entire cup and ends up shrinking so much she vanishes, much to the despair of Mrs. Kranky, who later accepts that her mother was becoming a nuisance anyway. George then reflects on the day's events and the day before.

Television version[edit]

Rik Mayall read this story for the BBC's Jackanory programme, in a widely acclaimed performance.