Monday, February 7, 2011

Martha Speaks

I'm a big fan of the Martha Speaks books by Susan Meddaugh.  Martha is a dog whose owner gave her Alphabet Soup for dinner and instead of the letters going to her tummy they went to her brain and Martha could talk, just like humans.

Recently, I discovered, due to an an impulse check out the library, that like many popular kids books, Martha has been turned into a Saturday cartoon. (I'm guessing it's a Saturday cartoon. I don't watch Saturday morning cartoons any more, so I'm not up on the line up these days.)  As with other popular kids books turned into TV shows there's been a spurt of books based on the show.  I'm usually not a fan of those.  These books tend to be a hastily prepared knock off of the originals.

This time it seems to be a little different. There are a couple of beginning reader type picture books, but the majority of the books seem to chapter books. I actually like the idea of the picture books moving on to chapter books. Younger readers who enjoy Martha can grow along with her as their reading skills improve.  I just wish that the books were written by and not "based on the characters created by" Susan Meddaugh.

As for the TV show, well some of the episodes are out on DVD. So I checked some out and watched them last week while recovering from surgery.  Martha Speaks - the TV show is a PBS show. They are fairly well done and of course are educational. They talk about character lessons and vocabulary words (at least the episodes I've seen so far.)  I guess if TV has to poach an idea from an author, PBS is the way to go.

Martha Says it With Flowers by Susan Meddaugh (by the original author and there is a TV episode as well.)
Martha on the Case by Jamie White (chapter book)
Martha Speaks: A Pup's Tale by Jamie White (chapter book)
Martha Speaks: Shelter Dog Blues by Jamie White (chapter book)
Toy Trouble by Karen Barrs (beginning reader)

If you looking for these books on Amazon, don't be fooled by the listing that they are by Susan Meddaugh. They are not. (Well, Martha Says It With Flowers is by Meddaugh, but the rest of the books all say "adapted by . . ."

Recommended for ages: Kindergarten through 3rd grade (interest level) Reading level - 3rd grade and up.

Mrs. Archer's rating: 3 of 5

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