Discussion Starters for Us Minus Mum

1. Who are the main characters and what do you like most about them?

2. What is the hardest thing George does in the whole book?

3. How do George and Theo differ?

4. Lots of times, George stands in a line. Why does the writer include this?

5. Goffo was originally a cat. Why do you think Heather Butler changed him to be a dog?

6. What does Carl Worthington make you feel and why is he part of the story?

7. What role do Nana and Granddad play?

8. Elise has only just arrived into the family when the book starts. How does she become important by the end?

9. How is a school you know different to, and the same as, Watson Park Primary School?

10. Why is Goffo so important to the story line?

11. Would George’s narration have worked if he had been more serious? Why do you think this? Should the subject of death be surrounded by humour?

12. Why did Heather Butler include George’s ‘dark thoughts’?

13. How does the formatting style (writing words George likes in bold and shrinking ones he doesn’t like) help the reader?

14. If you were telling a friend about Us Minus Mum in twenty words, what would you say?

15. Would you prefer to have George or Theo as your best friend? Why?

16. Why is George’s friendship with Dermo so important?

17. Describe George’s relationship with Mum.

18. Think of six things Goffo does. Now put them in order with the worst being first. Compare them to someone else’s list.

19. Why does Heather Butler keep Mum at a distance so that the reader never finds out what she is thinking and feeling?

20. Dad is a distant figure as well. Why?