Martha, a young otter, is a girl of many accomplishments and social graces ("She does give hugs. She does share her snack. She does make presents. She does read stories"). But apologizing is definitely not her thing, and after a spectacular day of misbehaving, her family draws the line. No apology? Then no cookies, piggyback rides or hugs. Can Martha rise to the occasion? Comparisons to Olivia may be inevitable, and while Martha isn't playing in that league, she has plenty of charm. Whatley's minimalist composition approach, used to great effect in Diary of a Wombat, returns, though his single-plane perspective grows monotonous. But he never overplays his hand, and his astute portraits (the family members are especially good at upturned noses of disapproval) should elicit giggles. Berger (Junior Goes to School) is a sly, sharp writer who clearly understands just how much is at stake for her heroine, which should make the message go down easy with readers. Ages 3-6. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Learning to apologize is a lesson that is hard for youngsters. Perhaps Martha's experiences will help. Martha may resemble an otter under her pink dress and headband, but she is more obviously a winsome, busy young girl. She does many things in her life, from sharing snacks to reading Harry Otter, but one thing she does not do is say, "sorry," even when she does "things that are…not so nice." One day Martha goes too far with her family. She then discovers that people who do not apologize also do not get the things they want, like cookies or hugs. After thinking it over, she finally says, "I'm sorry," loud enough to be heard. Everyone in the family is glad when she does, including Martha. Using watercolors and colored pencils, Whatley tells the visual story with only the characters and the most minimal of props to flesh out the minimal text. Martha is a delight to follow through her learning experience. Her arms are folded and her nose pointed disdainfully away on both the jacket and cover before she has learned her lesson. Note the difference also between the front and back end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Martha is a pretty normal kid, for an otter-she skateboards and sings, shares her snack and makes presents, sticks out her tongue and throws things. But no matter what, she does not apologize. That is, until the day that she does some not-so-nice things to her mother, father and baby brother. Martha wrestles with wanting to do the right thing without having to say sorry, but her family doesn't give cookies, piggyback rides or hugs to people who don't apologize. Near the beginning, readers may see a bit of Eloise and Olivia in Martha's upturned nose and stubborn refusal to do the right thing, but happily, her loving family's lesson hits home and she learns to make amends, albeit at first like Carl Norac's Lola (I Love You So Much, illustrated by Claude K. Dubois, 1998, etc.). The watercolor-and-colored-pencil artwork encapsulates Martha's girliness, her better-than-thou attitude and her internal struggle with her conscience. Whatley's representation of body language and facial expression powerfully complement the text. An enjoyable introduction to what could be a new beloved character. (Picture book. 3-7)