From School Library Journal
PreSchool-K—Martha's the middle mouse in her family. Older sister Clara is big and sensible. Brother Ben is a "cutesy-wootsy little baby." But when Martha does something good, all she hears is, "Well done, Martha." She is just there, feeling unnoticed, so she runs away to the far end of the garden where she meets Frog. After Martha tells him her woes, he tries to convince her that middle things are special and important. The examples he uses to illustrate his point are ripples in a pond, seeds in the centers of sunflowers, nectar in the centers of blossoms, peas in a pod, and a juicy slice of watermelon. That turns Martha's thinking around and, when Clara and Ben come looking for her, she happily returns to the fold. The watercolor and ink illustrations fill every square inch and are so exuberant that they jump off the page. The facial expressions and poses of the characters are expressive and entertaining, and the nature scenes are lush and beautiful. The large size and joyous nature of this book will make it a storytime favorite.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
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Poor Martha Mouse is stuck in the middle of her family, between “big, sensible, grown-up” Clara and “clever cutesy-wootsy little baby” Ben. When the situation becomes more than Martha can stand, she does what any self-respecting, misunderstood mouse does: she runs away. Just to the far end of the garden, mind you. There she meets a wise, sympathetic frog, who shows her that the best parts of things (like watermelon and flowers) are often in the middle. “I think the middle is special,” declares Martha, whose siblings appear to tell her they miss her, and a happy Martha heads home. Fearnley combines a reassuring story with charming, rich watercolors, and her mouse faces transcend mere cuteness by being expressive and endearing. The watermelon looks red and juicy enough to dive into, and the endpapers—sunflowers in the front and pea plants in the back—are a clever, lovely touch. Ideal for middle children of all species. --Bina Williams