The Martha Books by Samantha Berger

Samantha Berger, Author

Bruce Whatley, Illustrator

Little, Brown and Company

Ages: Preschool to First Grade

Martha is a feisty and stubborn little girl — otter — who gives hugs, shares her snacks, make presents and reads stories.  But, Martha will not say she’s sorry.   Sometimes she’s not very nice.  She throws objects, kicks things, spills batter on her mother and paint on her father, and disturbs her baby brother.  But, she won’t apologize.   Time-outs follow.  And, her mother doesn’t give treats and her father doesn’t play with a daughter who won’t say she’s sorry.  Martha thinks a long time.  She doesn’t need anyone, or does she?

Martha faces a new challenge in the second book by Berger and Whatley.   She may have learned to apologize in the first book, but this mischievous heroine now faces a new challenge with her favorite new word – MINE.   Martha has a little brother Edwin, and she doesn’t want to share her blanket, scooter, dollhouse,  or toys with him.  Her parents are learning how to creatively handle  Martha.  They leave her alone with all of her possessions.   In doing so, this little spunky otter  discovers something important.

Samantha Berger’s Martha books are a wonderful companion books.  I hope there is a Martha series.  Children will have fun with Martha and learn how to treat one another, and the consequences if they don’t.  Her writing is funny and not preachy.  Bruce Whatley’s water-color and colored-pencil illustrations perfectly capture Martha’s priceless facial expressions and personality.   Berger  is a Vice President of Animated Shorts at Nickelodeon and has written over 70 books for young readers.  Whatley is a highly respected author and illustrator in  Australia.

Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved


Lively Elizabeth!

Lively Elizabeth!: What Happens When You Push, written by Mara Bergman and illustrations by Cassia Thomas, for children 3-6 yrs.  Bergman uses rhyme in a very vibrant way to capture her characters and story line.  Cassie, a  first-time children’s book illustrator, impressively uses vivid color and detail to beautifully support this story.   A winning combination for both author and illustrator. 

Elizabeth is a tad too high-spirited  for her own good.  She is energetic,  fun-loving, and mischievous.   While standing in line at school, she decides to push Joe Fitzhugh, who knocks down Ethan Snell, who falls on Annabelle, who bumps Norine… thus creating huge chain reaction of crashes, flailing arms and legs, knocked down sporting equipment, books and musical instruments.   Joe Fitzhugh explodes in anger at Elizabeth and yells “You pushed me and hurt everyone!”  Elizabeth faces her peers, which may even more challenging than the teacher.   

Lively Elizabeth is fun story that provides an excellent teaching moment for parents and teachers to start talking with young children about pushing, accountability,  apologizing and forgiveness.  In fact, it’s a book to be read and reread often to remind children to respect one another.