Martha Speaks
by Susan Meddaugh
A Caldecott Honor Book

Martha speaks after drinking alphabet soup - nothing unusual, except that Martha is a dog!

Mom gives Helen alphabet soup but instead of taking it herself, this girl feeds it to her dog, Martha. The letters in the soup end up in Martha's brain instead of her stomach, and she starts to talk - and how she talks! On, and on, and on.

This story shows kids what happens when someone talks too much. Martha the dog hasn't learnt social graces, so she makes gaffes such as telling a visitor, "Mom said that fruitcake you sent wasn't fit for a dog. But I thought it was delicious." She interrupts people when they're speaking, makes loud, embarrassing comments in public, and drives her (human) family up the wall with her non-stop blabbing.

Eventually the family tells her to "shut up" - not an appropriate way to deal with the situation, since this rough handling crushes the talkative mutt. She refuses to speak anymore - until the day a burglar breaks into the house, when she rises to the occasion and ends up as the heroine who saves the day.

This hilarious story teaches many important lessons, among them: one, don't talk too much; two, think before you speak; and three, don't tell people to "shut up" as it's rude and it'll crush them.

This book is one of a series of funny stories for kids; all are about Martha the talking dog, and teach children life lessons in an entertaining way.


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