Ever wonder what your pet would say if they could talk? Illustrator Susan Meddaugh’s 7-year-old son, Niko, surprised his mom with that question one day when he was eating alphabet soup. Would their dog, Martha, be able to talk if they fed her alphabet soup?
Meddaugh created a world in which Martha Speaks, in the first of a line of children’s books featuring this chatty canine. Once the cute hero puppy eats the soup, the letters made of pasta shoot up to her head, not her stomach, and somehow she learns how to talk. The novelty of a talking dog soon wears off and the family tires of their dog’s incessant talking. She talks about anything and everything in this delightful tale and sometimes lets her mouth runaway with itself at some of the most inappropriate times. In one instance, Martha tells a visitor, “Mom said that fruitcake you sent wasn’t fit for a dog. But I thought it was delicious.” Her family finally appreciates how incredible this talking dog is when the canine stops an attempted burglary.
In Martha Speaks, Meddaugh shrewdly hides a manners lesson while telling the tale of this lovable, albeit, tactless main character. This friendly, floppy character with amazing linguistic abilities can help your kids learn how to say the right thing at the right time, while helping them improve their vocabulary.
Overall, this story is a delightful, witty fantasy that is a joy to read. You can tell Meddaugh loves words and language, and the illustrations include thought bubbles and art, both of which work well together. The cartoon-like illustrations are done in watercolor and ink and most don’t have a border, but rather a soft smudge of paint.
Martha Speaks is great for children ages 4 and
older. You can read it to them any time of day, whether you’re kids just woke up or if they’re settling in for the night. Your kids won’t get tired of this book, so prepare for lots of readings. You may even get requests for more stories about this dialoguing dog. Your kids will love this series of books for years to come.