Friday, December 11, 2009

Martha Doesn't Say Sorry

Title: Martha Doesn't Say Sorry
Author: Samantha Berger
Illustrator: Bruce Whattley
Publisher: Little Brown And Company

This is the story of Martha. She is an otter, five-ish year old and lives with her mother, father and baby brother who isn’t one yet. Martha wears a pink dress with a nice pink ribbon. Sounds pretty traditional, huh? But that is where the stereotype stops because there is nothing else that is girly about Martha. She skate boards, does karate, sticks her tongue out, throws things and above all she is feisty with a capital F! And of course, Martha doesn’t say sorry for anything.

One day the stars are not well aligned for Martha. She throws cookie dough on her mother on purpose. Then she proceeds to paint her father’s behind with red paint. As if all this is not enough, she sets up her brass drum set right next to her sleeping baby brother and brings the house down. The whole family is mad at her because Martha after behaving purposefully does not take responsibility. She just walks away without a sorry. Soon Martha realizes that she does not get cookies, piggyback rides or hugs. Martha’s family is clear that they don’t bother doing all this for children who don’t say sorry. So Martha apologizes and she does it from her heart.

What I liked was, the book doesn’t stop there and if it had it would have been preachy and not realistic. The last page says that Martha still does some things that are not so nice, but she apologizes as nicely as she can. They have a picture of the baby brother’s first birthday cake with a number one candle on it, but the cake is missing a slice, the rest of the family is looking distressed and a sheepish looking Martha apologizing.

The pictures are awesome. Bruce Whatley has brought out such expression on the face of these otters. I almost choked on my tea when I saw Martha’s dad’s expression when she paints his behind with a smug, “Yeah, I did it, what can YOU do about it?” look on her face. The baby brother’s face when he refuses to give Martha a hug is simply priceless!

Following the link on Linda’s comments on Chox’s post on Saffron Tree, unfortunately I couldn’t find Linda’s book in our library, so made a book buy suggestion, I found this book.

I thoroughly believe in girls with spunk. So Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry really resonated with me. Plus our resident three year old says sorry as lip service, so I decided to try it with the girls. The book was pink, so they loved it even before we opened the book. After I finished reading, I got request to read the same book again and again and again. We have been reading it every night at bedtime for the past three weeks.


Choxbox said...

Sounds fabulous. Wish I could get a copy too!

Tharini said...

Oh God! As if the cover picture of that cute, otter with attitude with her nose high up in the air was not enough to have me rushing to the next tab to my library's home page!!!

Damn cute. I would love to read about Martha and enjoy her spirit too! :)

starry eyed said...

This book can definitely be judged by its (damn cute) cover!

Anusha said...

is there a blue version to it?
thats okay, the 4yo likes pink anyway :)
lovely book and lovely review!

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

I am going to look for this in our library ...

Praba Ram said...


I am sorry I don't like it one bit. I JUST LOVE IT! :-)

And we do have an in-house fancy and feisty 3 yr old who loves her ballet tutu and can't be stopped from wearing it to school. (just an example!)

Thankfully, her feistiness is with a lowercase f and as long as it doesnt hurt others..I do let her indulge in them! You dont get this stage later, do you? And with bad behavior ones like grabbing, throwing things around etc...she does apologize with a BIG HUG!! Three has been great so far - particularly, reasoning to her with sharing and taking turns. Two was tricky for us - no wonder it's terrible twos!

That was a long one - sorry! The message hit home. :-)

Sheela said...

Nice review, utbt! I've looked at it a few times and decided to save it for later - especially since I thought it might put ideas into my surprisingly well-mannered but easily impressionable 4-yr-old's head :)

Reminds me of the time we read Love You When You Whine by Emily Jenkins which I had to rewrite in real-time to make the intended positive impact...

The subtle distinction between "I love YOU but I don't love WHAT YOU DO" sometimes gets lost on the wee ones... but, looks like Martha handles it well.

ranjani.sathish said...

awesome pick !! I can see my 3 year old chuckling as I read to her Martha's antics :-)

DDmom said...

UTBT.. The cover pix is cuteness personified.. I seem to have a girl with spunk in the making too ;)
Has this bought any change in M? You know why I ask..

B o o said...

whoa! im glad Sheela commented first. I thought along the same line too. :) That said, I hear you sister when you say that the 3 year old says sorry as a lip service. Ditto here! If Ashu had her way, she would say sorry in advance! ;)

Meera Sriram said...

"What I liked was, the book doesn’t stop there and if it had it would have been preachy and not realistic." - I really liked how you pointed this out UTBT, made me appreciate the book more. Again, a great pointer that might come in handy for parents!

utbtkids said...

Okays, here I am:

@Chox - Want one? ;)

@Tharini: Do try, do try.

@Starry: Yes mam. Cute indeed.

@K's mom:
Pink or blue,
no one has any clue,
as to why at that age,
the kids go on a rampage.

So just pick it up.

@CA: And you will tell us how C liked it right? I am sure she will love it.

@Praba: Tu-tus to school. Awww! How cute is that?! We do our share of pattu pavadais and what nots to school. But it really gets out of hand in winter when I want layers on them and the younger one wants to romp around in 'dresses'.

@Ranjani: I am sure the three year old would enjoy it.

@Meera:Exactly! A book that ends with 'Since that day Martha never did anything that hurt any body's feelings and every one lived happily ever after' would be perfect. But how boring would that Martha be? Fortunately reality is not like that, Martha remains spunky :)

@DDMom: Saying Sorry has NEVER been a problem at home. Like Boo says, she would apologize in advance, because she knows exactly what she is doing or will be doing.
I have a complicated explanation, will bounce it to you in email. You tell me if makes sense and bounce me back to reality.

@Sheela, @ BOO: The most important for the last. I consider my first born to be the most impressionable of my two children. The first time she read the book, she gasped and said, "Amma, this Martha is just like our Mieja." So she identifies her sister with Martha and not herself.

Unfortunately ladies, if a child has that baby Krishna, Dennis the menace, Calvin like cute naughty streak in them, that is what we parents have to live with. Welcome to the club. In the mean time you try all this real-time rewriting and let me know how that goes :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails