More Picture Book reviews by Jean Matthew Hall
For the next few weeks I’ll be taking a peek at picture books by Susan Meddaugh the author of the Martha books and many others. You can read about it here.
Meddaugh’s Martha books became an animated television series on PBS KIDS. (Hmmm…wonder if that could ever happen to one of MY books?) Aimed at viewers between the ages of four and seven, Martha’s educational goal is to teach kids new words.
You can also view a video interview with author/illustrator Meddaugh at Reading Rockets.
I managed to borrow three of the Martha books from my local library. The first book, Marha Speaks is the tale of Martha’s family feeding her alphabet soup. The letters mistakenly go to her brain instead of her stomach and, ta-da! Martha is able to speak, and converse intelligently as long as they keep feeding her alphabet soup.
Martha Walks the Dog and Martha and Skits are follow-up stories about Martha’s many adventures as a unique speaking dog.
Meddaugh’s illustrations are cartoonish sketches with lots of pastel colors. The faces of the dogs and other critters, as well as the people, are very expressive. Yes, the illustrations carry a lot of the characterizations. They are clever and a bit zany.
As for the text – well, Meddaugh’s sense of humor is a bit zany, too. The entire basis of her stories is, after all, a dog who learns to talk after eating alphabet soup. The humor only gets kookier from there. But the lesson that everyone is of value in their own unique way comes through the humor.
There’s no arguing the popularity of the Martha books, nor their educational but fun value.
A list of many of Meddaugh’s books is at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt here. Take a peek and let us know (in the comments or on FB at Jean Matthew Hall Author, what you think.
The next few weeks I’ll look at some of her other picture books. See you Friday!