Martha on the Case (Martha Speaks Series)

Overview

Two mysteries in one book! At Alice's birthday party, somebody - or some animal - has ruined the birthday cake. Facing accusations from Alice's brother and his cat, Nelson (Martha's nemesis), Martha proclaims her innocence in spite of overwhelming cake crumb evidence. Finally clearing her name, Martha moves on to apply her detective skills to uncover a plot to rob a local jewelry store. But it turns out that the main suspects are police detectives on a stakeout. Has Martha foiled the stakeout plan for good, or ...

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Overview

Two mysteries in one book! At Alice's birthday party, somebody - or some animal - has ruined the birthday cake. Facing accusations from Alice's brother and his cat, Nelson (Martha's nemesis), Martha proclaims her innocence in spite of overwhelming cake crumb evidence. Finally clearing her name, Martha moves on to apply her detective skills to uncover a plot to rob a local jewelry store. But it turns out that the main suspects are police detectives on a stakeout. Has Martha foiled the stakeout plan for good, or can she rally her canine friends to help her catch the real criminals?

Includes a cast of characters introduction and two pages of word-fun activities.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
For those children who loved "Martha Speaks" picture books, they are going to love that the fun continues in this double mystery, easy-to-read chapter book. The first story revolves around Helen and T.D.'s friend, Alice, who is having a birthday party. Something always goes wrong at her parties, so everyone is on alert for an object to explode, fall from the sky, or break unexpectedly. In this story, Alice's surly cat sets up Martha as the perpetrator of a crime: eating a big chunk out of the cake. The children hold a trial to determine poor Martha's fate. In the second mystery, Martha becomes suspicious of two men who Martha overhears saying things like, "This will be like taking candy from a baby." Martha follows them to an empty building across from a jewelry store, where it appears they are staking it out for a robbery. They seem to have all the props and behaviors: binoculars that they use to watch the store, a map of the block, complete with underground tunnels, and their gruff behavior. Martha gets T.D., Helen, and the police involved, but it turns out her nose for sniffing out trouble is a few scents short of a full breath. Scenes from these stories would make great readers' theater scripts for fluency practice with a lot of opportunity for developing character voices and prosody. The length, reading level, and high interest make it a great transition chapter book. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—These two stories are based on characters from Meddaugh's "Martha" picture books (Houghton) and on the PBS series "Martha Speaks." An introduction explains that the pup is able to speak when she eats alphabet soup. In the first story, she is accused of eating part of a birthday cake before it is served. Guests at the party hold a hearing and provide imaginative scenarios for the crime, but when Nelson the cat spits up a bit of candle, the truth is revealed. In the second case, Martha hears two men plotting and is determined to stop them from committing a crime. She and her owner, Helen, learn that the men are actually undercover officers working to thwart a jewelry-store robbery. The thieves come while the police are gone, so Martha summons neighborhood dogs to help. Each page has ample white space and features an expressive, brightly colored cartoon. A few full-spread illustrations add information and drama. Word-search and -scramble puzzles follow the story. This engaging, contemporary tale will be welcomed by those making the leap from Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat's Nate the Great on the Owl Express (Delacorte, 2003) and Cynthia Rylant's The Case of the Desperate Duck (HarperCollins, 2005) to more advanced mysteries.—Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547210551
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/8/2010
  • Series: Martha Speaks Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 599,745
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.40 (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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