Heart-y Reading: Martha Speaks: Thief of Hearts by Susan Meddaugh
"LET'S MAKE VALENTINE CARDS FOR EACH OTHER!" SAYS CAROLINA.
Martha's family and playmates can't wait to get to work on their original handmade Valentine's Day cards. Everyone but Skits, the family's junior dog, that is. Skits just wants everybody outside to play with him in the snow. But Skit's wishes get no respect.
"NOT NOW, SKITS!!"
The kids spread out for privacy. "No peeking!" Carolina orders, as she takes over the kitchen table to cut out big red hearts. T.D. moves to the living room to make his first card for Martha. Helen finds some fabric and gets started on her cards in her room. Everyone gets down to work and their pile of finished cards begins to grow. Only Truman can't get started.
"I CAN'T DO THIS!" HE SAYS. "I'M NOT GOOD AT CRAFTS."
"ME NEITHER," SAYS MARTHA. "NO THUMBS!"
"DON'T WORRY," SAYS HELEN. "TAKE A BREAK."
But when the group returns to their work, they find that most of their art supplies have disappeared. The kids now have another job--solving the missing Valentines mystery. Everyone looks at Truman, but he pleads not guilty. But the supplies are nowhere to be seen.
If Truman isn't the guilty party, Martha figures, who else had a motive, the desire to bring the crafts session to a quick end?
"I THINK I I KNOW WHO DID IT!" SAYS MARTHA.
It's an open-and-shut case in the latest Martha story, Martha Speaks: Thief of Hearts (Reader) (Houghton-Mifflin, 2011). Martha uses the old (alphabet noodle-powered) noodle and uncovers the missing supplies under the sofa cushion, Skits' favorite hiding place for doggy contraband. Helen suddenly understands that Skits feels left out and moves that the crafts session adjourn for a romp with him in the fresh February snowfall.
As always, Susan Meddaugh's talking dog is on the job here, painlessly leading beginning readers through decoding skills and vocabulary development in her latest in Houghton-Mifflin's Early Reader Level 1 entries in the Martha Speaks series. A spin-off from the popular PBS Kids shows about Martha the talking dog, these inexpensive little paperbacks offer beginning readers a fun experience with familiar characters and, thanks to the book's appendix, a glossary of new words introduced in the text (crafts, decorate, supplies, design, and create) and additional practice using these words. And, as a special holiday bonus, there are eight punch-out Valentine cards for readers to color and send to their own friends. Martha is truly the new reader's best friend.