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Martha in the Middle Hardcover – June 10, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763638005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763638009
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Author-illustrator Jan Fearnley's "Martha in the Middle" is the perfect book for middle children. The charming story centers around young Martha, a mouse who feels she is constantly being sandwiched between older sis, Clara, and younger brother Ben. She gets so sick of being in the middle that she decides to 'run away', until a chance encounter with a wise frog makes her look at her position with a fresh perspective.

The text is simple and perfect for reading aloud and the full-color illustrations convey all the frustrations Martha faces as a middle child with a perfect blend of wit and humor. This is definitely a must-read for those with a child in the middle, but also for all preschoolers who like a well-told story.
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Format: Hardcover
This is my newest favorite book. I'm guessing I relate because as a middle child, I felt just like Martha; stuck in the middle, squashed in the middle, invisible in the middle.

Martha grows tired of being ignored and decides to runaway. She thinks "They won't even care that I'm gone." Along the way, she meets a very wise frog who teaches her the middle is the best part, the sweetest part and the juiciest part. Once Martha realizes the middle is special, things start to change. Jan Fearnley's large, colorful and whimsical illustrations, mixed with her text, make Martha in the middle an outstanding book for any child. However, it will leave a middle child feeling understood and special.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Martha is the middle child, always sandwiched in between the eldest and the youngest, always feeling forgotten in the middle between the two extremes. When she finally gets tired of it and runs away, she meets a friendly frog who shows her that quite often the best things are right in the middle!

This is a nice book, with large illustrations and a great message. If you have a middle child in your life, then you should get this book for him or her. It’s a nice book with a great lesson!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gourmet on October 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a granddaughter in the middle I think this is a very good book. From the perspective of being that particular age, it mentions the trials and tribulations of being younger than and older than your siblings. A complex stage of dealing with life issues.
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