Martha in the Middle

Martha in the Middle

by Jan Fearnley
     
 

Martha is tired of being in the middle — until a frog points out its benefits — in a funny story sure to have middle siblings feeling on top of the world.

Being in the middle is no fun for Martha. She gets squashed between her siblings when they argue. She never gets called "big and sensible" or "cutesy-wootsy." Sometimes she

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Overview

Martha is tired of being in the middle — until a frog points out its benefits — in a funny story sure to have middle siblings feeling on top of the world.

Being in the middle is no fun for Martha. She gets squashed between her siblings when they argue. She never gets called "big and sensible" or "cutesy-wootsy." Sometimes she even feels invisible. One day she gets so fed up, she decides to run away. Luckily, Martha meets a wise frog who points out that the middle is the best bit — the tasty seeds in the sunflower, the sweet peas in the pod, the juiciest part of a watermelon. With beguiling warmth and humor, Jan Fearnley reassures children that being in the middle of things is a choice spot after all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fearnley (Watch Out!) may not break any new ground with this story about a middle child finding that she can be special, too, and yet the character is so insouciant and the artwork animated by so much humor that this oversize book should find an audience. Martha, a mouse, runs away from home ("They won't even care that I'm gone," she tells herself) and, predictably, experiences an epiphany about her role in the family-an epiphany prompted by a frog. Demonstrating his points like a motivational speaker, the frog reminds Martha that the best or sweetest part of most things are found at their centers. Fearnley's nimble use of line and uncluttered watercolors focus on character and plenty of action (Martha reclines in the middle of a watermelon slice, in the space created by a large bite; bees frolic as they collect nectar from the centers of flowers). Witty details, like maracas made of acorns, ramp up the fun on repeat readings. Ages 3-up. (June)

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School Library Journal

PreS-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

Kirkus Reviews
Martha the mouse is fed up with being in the middle. Clara is the oldest and she's always looked on as so grown-up. Ben is the baby and everyone always remarks on his cuteness. Poor Martha's in the middle at meals and games and in bed; there's nothing remarkable about her. Certain they won't even miss her, she decides to run away. On her trek she meets a young frog who shows her the sunflower seeds are in the middle of the flower and the juiciest part of the watermelon is right there too. Just then, Clara and Ben come to tell her how much they do miss her. Suddenly, Martha realizes the middle is the best place to be. Fearnley's big, friendly watercolors are what sets this offering apart from other "in the middle" stories. Little listeners, especially those who find themselves in the middle, will definitely identify with Martha. Pair it with Angela McAllister and Nick Maland's A Place for Middle (2007) and Brigitte Meninger's Davy in the Middle (2004). (Picture book. 3-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763638009
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
06/10/2008
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
10.29(w) x 10.98(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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