Perfectly Martha (Martha Speaks Series)

( 2 )

Overview

What do people really want from a dog? When Otis Weaselgraft opens up his Perfect Pup Institute, promising to train even the most drooling, barking, scratching, squirrel-chasing dog to be perfectly obedient in only three steps, Martha smells a rat. She knows dogs are already perfect. But Weaselgraft claims he can make man's best friend even better. Word of his amazing program spreads through the neighborhood—soon half the dogs in town are enrolled at the Perfect Pup Institute. But there's something strange about ...
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Perfectly Martha

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Overview

What do people really want from a dog? When Otis Weaselgraft opens up his Perfect Pup Institute, promising to train even the most drooling, barking, scratching, squirrel-chasing dog to be perfectly obedient in only three steps, Martha smells a rat. She knows dogs are already perfect. But Weaselgraft claims he can make man's best friend even better. Word of his amazing program spreads through the neighborhood—soon half the dogs in town are enrolled at the Perfect Pup Institute. But there's something strange about the Perfect Pup graduates, and Martha is determined to find out what it is . . .

Martha discovers how the Perfect Pup Institute turns dogs into obedient robots and then does something about it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In agile ink-and-watercolor illustrations, printed on a white ground like the Curious George books, Meddaugh does for dogs what H.A. Rey does for monkeys." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"This laugh-out-loud escapade will please budding sci-fi fans as well as Martha's many admirers." School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
In Meddaugh's sixth Martha episode, the talking dog turns Nancy Drew to foil a crooked dog trainer and his craven accomplice. Per usual, the story begins with an explanation of Martha's unusual talent (her daily ration of alphabet soup gives her the gift of speech). One day, the canine notices that a Daddy Warbucks lookalike named Otis Weaselgraft has opened a "Perfect Pup Institute" (which gives the book its title and lets Meddaugh squeeze some comic mileage out of the PP acronym). The snake-oil salesman stands on the curb, asking dog owners, " `What do dogs want?'/ Before Martha could answer, the man continued./ `They want to scatter trash on pickup day, sleep on the furniture, and drink from the toilet.... Your dog... could be better.' " Martha, who grumbles to her (nonverbal) sidekick Skits that "dogs are already perfect," investigates, and learns that Weaselgraft controls pets by implanting a "Robo Rover Brain Blocker" in their collars. Meddaugh's story amounts to a mad scientist yarn, but her discerning cartoons carry the day. In agile ink-and-watercolor illustrations, printed on a white ground like the Curious George books, Meddaugh does for dogs what H.A. Rey does for monkeys. Her happy dogs wiggle and scratch, while Weaselgraft's zombie-like trainees exhibit a bizarre tolerance of squirrels. Whistleblower Martha remains the series star, with balance provided by the goofy Skits and Weaselgraft's pug, Burt, who stays on after the PP Institute skips town. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Martha, the talking dog heroine of five other delightful romps, is suspicious when Otis Weaselgraft of the Perfect Pup Institute promises to train dogs to be "perfect" in just three steps. "Dogs are already perfect," she notes, so what can be wrong with those who graduate? Unfortunately, when she goes to investigate, Martha is locked in a crate by Weaselgraft's assistant, Dr. Pablum, who has heard her speak. Martha soon learns that the "perfect" dogs are controlled by a device in their collars. Pablum is annoyed when Weaselgraft has put Martha outside because he can't believe that she can talk. The assistant makes a deal with Martha to expose and humiliate his boss in a particularly appropriate and hilarious manner. Thanks to Martha, the neighborhood dogs and their owners are soon back to their normal imperfect but happy lives. There's little need for more than occasional backgrounds for the loosely drawn watercolors of the solidly built characters. The use of speech balloons adds to the light-hearted cartoon-like visual narrative. The scenes of the dogs, and eventually Weaselgraft, frozen in obedience are particularly effective, even a bit frightening, amid the fun. 2004, Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In her newest adventure, the quick-thinking, loquacious dog finds herself matching wits with a technological shyster. When the Perfect Pup Institute opens up in her town, Martha is immediately suspicious about how quickly the canines enrolled give up all of their normal doggy behaviors from drooling to squirrel chasing. As she investigates, she discovers that Otis Weaselgraft is installing a robo-rover brain-blocker microchip inside each pooch's collar. Otis's assistant, Dr. Pablum, hears Martha speak and realizes that she is an amazing find, but, of course, Martha outsmarts him and exposes the dog-training hoax, and the pets' owners realize that they actually prefer their tail-wagging, slobbery-kissing companions. The illustrations are clever and colorful, perfectly capturing the zany tale and the personalities of Martha and her cohorts, including one picture showing a squirrel sitting merrily on the head of a clearly robotic dog. This laugh-out-loud escapade will please budding sci-fi fans as well as Martha's many admirers.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Martha, the dog who took alphabet soup to new heights, smells a rat when the dogs in her neighborhood start behaving too obediently after a course with Otis Weaselgraft's Perfect Pup Institute. They sit, they roll over, they lie down on command, which runs counter to Martha's understanding of the dog brain: big sleep, eat, and play lobes, with a minor lobe, about the size of a dust mote, tuned to obedience (nicely illustrated by Meddaugh's declarative art). Martha learns the trick to the professor's system, a brain-blocking microchip inserted into the dog's collar: "Lasts about a month," admits Weaselgraft when Martha turns the tables on him, "just long enough to take your money and move to the next state." Martha is the perfect mutt to raise the slogan "Question Authority" to an art form: really, if you're not drinking from the toilet or scattering trash, are you being true to your inner dog? (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618378579
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/29/2004
  • Series: Martha Speaks Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2005

    Doggone Success

    In the sixth book in the fabulous Martha Series, the lovable talking dog Martha and her companion Skits learn of a new dog obedience school in their town. When dogs come out, it's questinonable rather they're even dogs anymore. They don't get in the trash, sleep on the furniture, or even chase squirrels and cats anymore. Martha knows somethings wrong and goes to investigate. When she tries though, she's captured by a Dr. Pablum who wants to show the world a talking dog. Will Martha be able to set things straight and get back the canine companions we all know and love? I'll let the reader find out by reading the ending. This is another great classic by Meddaugh and sure to be the great keystone to a child's Martha collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2004

    Martha to the rescue

    Martha the talking dog is back and fortified with her usual alphabet soup she investigates The Perfect Pup Institute. Otis Weaselgraft trains dogs to be obedient by placing a Robo Rover Brain Blocker in the dog's collars.Yikes!!!! It is the doggie version of the Stepford Wives. The caninies are acting like robots. Thank heavens Martha is there to solve the problem by turning the tables on Weaselgraft exposing his fraudulent operation. Watercolor illustrations and speech balloons are the usual trademarks of Meddaugh. You just have to love Martha and so will your audience. This is a perfect read aloud for storytime. Perfectly Martha will not stay on library shelves.

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