Friday, October 29, 2010

Boo! Martha Speaks: Haunted House by Susan Meddaugh

Martha is helping out at the flower shop.

"Can you deliver these flowers?" Mom asked.

"Of course," Martha replies. "Where to?"

"This says 936 Elm Street, but nobody lives there," Mom frowns. "As kids we thought that house was haunted."

"Like with ghosts?" Martha wonders.

Despite Mom's reassurances that the the house must have new owners, Martha sets off on the errand with a bit of trepidation. The house does have a Gothic look about it, and the windows are all dark. "If I were a ghost," Martha muses, "I'd live here."

Martha scratches politely on the door. No one comes, but the door swings open reveal a dark and dusty interior with formless white shapes barely visible inside. No one responds to Martha's tentative hello. Martha ventures a little further inside the gloomy interior and runs right into a chair, draped in a musty sheet. Startled, Martha tries to pull away and the chair cover settles like a shroud over her form.

The reader probably can guess where this one is going. Of course, the new owners, the Parkingtons, are trying to make the best of moving in without electricity, and when they see a mysterious white shape writhing and twisting in their already spooky living room..., well, now they are worried about ghosts, too. It's a merry, slightly scary mixup as Martha flees, without the basket of flowers, back to the flower shop where Helen and friend T.D. volunteer to go back into the haunted house to retrieve the misplaced flowers. Soon it is Helen's turn to be rescued from strange goings-on inside by the ever resourceful Martha.

Adapted from an episode on PBS' popular Martha program based on Susan Meddaugh's delightful Martha Speaks series, Martha Speaks: Haunted House (Reader) (Houghton-Mifflin, 2010) provides light Halloween fare for the beginning Level 2 reader. Having acquired speech and literacy from her daily dose of (what else) alphabet soup, Martha is the perfect advocate for reading, deftly working vocabulary and phonic lessons seamlessly and humorously into every book and television episode. Appended is some sticker fun and Martha's usual word play page to reinforce vocabulary covered in the book.

Martha is truly the young reader's best friend. Like Jane O'Connor's spin-off Fancy Nancy I-Can-Read series, this talking dog helps kids bone up on reading fundamentals and have great fun in the process. Long live Martha!

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  • Hello,

    I recently came across a really nice book for kids called Colors of the Jungle, by Sameep Kadakia. Thought I'd pass it along in case somebody wanted to take a look!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 PM  

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