Martha and Skits (Martha Speaks Series)

Overview

Martha’s family has a little surprise for her—a puppy. Martha’s world is turned topsy-turvy as she attempts to adjust to Skits, the exuberant, unabashed addition to the household.

Martha watches as the new dog her family brings home grows through all the troublesome phases of being a puppy, and even though he does not develop Martha's ability to speak, Skits displays his own unique talent.

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Overview

Martha’s family has a little surprise for her—a puppy. Martha’s world is turned topsy-turvy as she attempts to adjust to Skits, the exuberant, unabashed addition to the household.

Martha watches as the new dog her family brings home grows through all the troublesome phases of being a puppy, and even though he does not develop Martha's ability to speak, Skits displays his own unique talent.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 Skits--dashing headlong into big trouble--provides 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 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 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 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Meddaugh tucks an unobtrusive lesson about valuing differences into this tale of doggy devotion, her fifth featuring the ever-popular Martha. From her favorite easy chair, Martha looks on benevolently as Skits, a new little companion, creates total puppy chaos indoors and out, developing from an "equal opportunity chaser and chewer" to a specialist in snagging "anything airborne." Soon "little" Skits is little no longer—but not even two bowls of the alphabet soup that gives Martha the power of speech produces in him anything beyond a bark. Feeling his family's disappointment, Skits wanders disconsolately out to the yard and incautiously snaps at a yellow jacket. By the time the pain eases, he is a long way from home. With some of Martha's comments placed in dialogue balloons, Meddaugh's sketchy, expressive illustrations capture the entire family's worry as they hunt for their lost member, leading up to a joyful reunion at a climactic Frisbee contest that (thanks to some timely help from Martha) Skits wins jaws down to regain his self-respect. So what if his conversational range extends from "arf" to "woof"? If it flies or floats, it's history. (Picture book. 5-7)
From the Publisher
"Using her customary combination of deadpan commentary, comical voice-bubble asides and witty drawings, Meddaugh takes an accurate look at puppy behavior."—Publishers Weekly, starred review (8/7/00) Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Fans of this talking dog will be charmed by this story about the new puppy that comes into the family."—School Library Journal (8/00) School Library Journal

"This has all the fun that children have come to expect from Martha’s appealing adventures."—Booklist Booklist, ALA

"Plain, savvy Martha and big, dorky Skits are an endearing canine pair, and Martha fans will lap this up."—The Bulletin 11/00 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Book Award

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618609178
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Series: Martha Speaks Series
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 967,612
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD230L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet 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, including Martha Speaks, which was chosen as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book for 1992. In 1998 she was awarded the New England Book Award, given by the New England Booksellers Association to recognize a body of work. Her work also was acknowledged with a New York Times Best Illustrated Award. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

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