A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about a dog's everyday life, from feeding to bathing, as well as the experience of dogs in shelters and tips on adopting them.They'll also pick up some new vocabulary words.
Martha Speaks: Shelter Dog Blues teaches positive messages about listening, caring, and appreciating what you've got. It also demonstrates sensitivity to and caring for pets, and the idea that things are often not as bad as they first seem.
Positive Role Models
Parents and adults are engaged and present. Kids are likable and realistic.
Violence & Scariness
No pets are injured, but some scenes depict lost and abandoned pets at a shelter. The outcome is positive, but this may require some explaining to kids who don't know how pet adoption works.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Martha Speaks: Shelter Dog Blues, part of the Martha Speaks series of chapter books, involves a pet who gets lost and ends up in a shelter. The experience is ultimately positive, but more appropriate for kids who already understand (or are ready for) the idea of pets being abandoned or running away, and the shelter and adoption process. Also, the Kindle version has a formatting issue -- the illustrations include text, as they would in a picture book, then that same text appears again on the following page in a different font, presumably to acquaint kids with the typical display of text in chapter books. But it may be confusing or distracting for some.
Is It Any Good?
With its comedy-of-errors humor and vibrant, cartoonish watercolor-and-ink drawings, this fun book engages and informs readers, offering lessons in gratitude, kindness, positivity -- and vocabulary. Martha the dog finds herself in all kinds of silly binds, usually of her own doing, but through her learning process, readers, too, learn how to navigate the world and act with decency.
Kids who like dogs will love imagining the possibilities of a talking dog, and parents can appreciate the intelligence and compassion displayed in these fun books. Bonus features include a vocabulary quiz at the end and tips on pet adoption.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.