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Martha and Skits (Martha Speaks) Hardcover – September 25, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this fifth Martha adventure, the talking dog hears a phrase well known to middle-aged pets: "Meet your new brother." Martha's owners introduce a brown puppy, Skits, who chews random household objects, attacks the vacuum cleaner and launches himself upon "anything airborne." ("Bad dog!" shout the humans, echoing the key line in Martha Walks the Dog, while Martha looks on in fond amusement.) Martha and Skits become friends, although Martha asserts "alpha dog" status when Skits spills her alphabet soup, the potion that enables Martha to speak. Martha wonders why the soup doesn't grant Skits the same ability ("Martha worried about Skits's brain. Was it too small?"), until she discerns that his talents lie elsewhere. Using her customary combination of deadpan commentary, comical voice-bubble asides and witty drawings, Meddaugh takes an accurate look at puppy behavior. It's almost a shame when, with the flick of a page, Skits transforms from big-eyed, charmingly stupid youngster to oversize lummox. Yet the gangly, full-grown SkitsDdashing headlong into big troubleDprovides an amusing contrast to tawny-coated, plump and pragmatic Martha. Meddaugh gently shifts the weight of the book away from Martha and onto the two dogs as a team. Her fitting addition to Martha's family acknowledges time's passage, invigorating both her canine heroine and her series. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-Fans of this talking dog will be charmed by this story about the new puppy that comes into the family. Martha is amused as Skits chews and destroys household goods with puppylike zeal, but she is quick to establish order when Skits spills her dish of alphabet soup. When the newcomer is old enough to try speaking, he is at a loss for words and feels badly, until Martha and their family assure him that he should be proud of his unique ability to catch flying objects. Meddaugh's bright cartoon illustrations are loving and playful, and prompt several laugh-out-loud moments. Dialogue balloons extend the simple, engaging narrative, and may inspire reader's theater. Preschoolers will identify with many elements in this story that also has enough sophistication to appeal to the early elementary crowd, and adults will appreciate its gentle message of acceptance.
Laura Scott, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 230L (What's this?)
  • Series: Martha Speaks
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618057765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618057764
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,699,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Meddaugh was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated from Wheaton College, where she studied French literature and fine arts. After working briefly with an advertising agency in New York, she moved to Boston and worked at a publishing company for ten years, first as a designer, then art editor, and finally as art director. While there, she did the illustrations for GOOD STONES (Houghton Mifflin) by Anne Epstein, and then decided to strike out on her own as a freelance illustrator and creator of children's books. Since that time, Susan has written and illustrated many popular books for children. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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63%
4 star
25%
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13%
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See all 8 customer reviews
This book teaches there is always room for one more!!
CJ
If you like a good laugh, and a good dog story, and if you believe there's something special about everyone - read Martha and Skits.
Cathy
The Martha books are one of mine (and my 5 year old son) favorite books!
T. Parker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cathy on May 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In this episode, Martha's family brings home a new brother, Skits. At first, Martha is amused by his puppy antics. When Skits bothers her alphabet soup, she lays down the law-#1 She's the alpha, and #2 Don't mess with the alphabet soup. Skits specialized in "anything airborne"-bugs, balls, balloons. When Skits tried his first alphabet soup, it didn't go to his head and come out words like it did for Martha. He was sad because he knew he disappointed the family. But then he bit down on an angry yellowjacket, and in trying to run away from it, he got completely lost. Does he get back home? Who figures out how to find him? If you like a good laugh, and a good dog story, and if you believe there's something special about everyone - read Martha and Skits.
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Format: Hardcover
Martha, a mature dog, is first amused and later annoyed by Skits a new puppy. It is fun to watch the relationship between wise Martha and spazzy Skits develop past annoyance and on to motherly concern. The book made me hungry for more Martha stories, especially the origin story, which explains how Martha's first taste of alphabet soup gave her the power of human speech.

The artwork makes me think of perennial New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, with its amusing, perplexed-looking people.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We bought this for my 4-year-old son because he has several of the Martha Speaks books and watches the show on PBS and loves them both. He absolutely loves this book. We read it together and he can read it by himself, so it's at a great level for the little ones. He still laughs at certain parts with Skits. All-in-all, a great little book that my son loves.
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By CJ on January 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These book series are wholesome, educational and very well written. The illustrations are so very cute!! I highly recommend them to anyone with children! This book teaches there is always room for one more!! I have read thousands of books through the years to our children, now Grandchildren and these books are simply CHARMING works of Art!!!
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