Friday, May 28, 2010

Martha's Got Game! Play Ball (Martha Speaks) by Susan Meddaugh

We have a softball game tomorrow," says Truman.

"The coach says I have to play.

But I can't catch the ball!"

"Barking bloopers!" says Martha. I'll give you catching lessons.

Trust me--I'm an expert."

After all, Martha and her sidekick Skits are great catchers--balls, Frisbees, whatever! Martha takes her friend to the park where Helen's friend Alice is making some practice throws to Skits. Skits demonstrates his faultless technique, and Alice agrees to pitch a few to Truman. But Truman is afraid of the ball and hides his eyes. "Try to keep your eyes on the ball," Martha says, but even when he gets his glove on the ball, it bounces right out again. "Squeeze the glove," Martha suggests.

Finally their coaching pays off, and Truman begins to hang onto the ball most of the time. And when Coach puts him into the field the next day, Truman gets right under a pop fly and pulls it in like a pro.

There's only one problem. Truman doesn't know how to throw the ball to pick off the runner trying to make second base. OOOOPS!

"Martha? Can you teach me to throw the ball?" he pleads.

"Sorry," Martha says. "Dogs can't throw.


Even a talking dog like Martha can only do so much, but Martha can always be counted on to pitch in and do what she can. Susan Meddaugh, creator of the Martha picture books series, and her collaborators Marcy Sacks and Susan Kim from the PBS TV series "Martha Speaks" pitch in to create another in her Green Light Level 2 series, Martha Speaks: Play Ball! (Reader) (Martha Speaks Readers) Houghton Mifflin, 2010) for beginning readers. Appended are some activities to reinforce vocabulary introduced in the text, and for more reading fun with Martha the Talking Dog, visit her online at PBSKids here.

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