Martha Calling by Susan Meddaugh
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture book for grades PreK-2nd or 3rd
Smart, talking dog as main character
Rating: If you love dogs, you will love this book. Kids LOVE this book! Funny and clever.
Short, short summary: Martha is a truly exceptional dog. When she eats alphabet soup, the letters go to her brain, and she can talk as well as any human. She LOVES to talk on the phone because people don’t know she is a dog, and they don’t say her three most HATED words, “No dogs allowed.” One day, she enters a telephone contest she hears about on the radio, and she wins a trip for her family to the Come-On-Inn. The problem is no dogs are allowed, so her family dresses her up as the grandma and bring plenty of alphabet soup. Martha has to stay in the room while the family enjoys activities without her, so she orders room service; and this is when the fun really begins. Martha has an opinion on the policy of no dogs allowed, and she soon gets the chance to share it.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This is a perfect book to do a cooking activity with your child or your students. You can make homemade alphabet soup. (If you can’t find the alphabet letter noodles, you can always make homemade chicken noodle soup.) Students love cooking lessons, and soup can be made in a crock pot, which is easier for the classroom. Ask parents to donate the ingredients. Use the cooking lesson to work on math skills also.
2. Ask students to write a persuasive essay or paragraph (depending on their age) on their opinion of whether dogs should be allowed at certain places. (If students are too young to write their own papers, you can write it as a class or have a discussion.) Do they agree with Martha? Where do students think dogs should be allowed? If they have a dog or a cat, what public places have they taken their pets? Why do they think there are these rules against pets in some places?
3. To work on how to punctuate sentences with quotation marks, ask students to write something Martha might say, and then add the quotation marks where they belong. For example, students could write: “I love my new job at the resort!” said Martha.
If you have used this book with your students or your child, please leave a comment here about your experiences.
If you have a suggestion of a book for me to read and review, please email me at email@example.com or leave a comment here.
photo by mairabc at www.flickr.com