Martha Speaks: Toy Trouble

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Martha Speaks: Toy Trouble Book Poster Image
Talking-dog adventure builds vocabulary, teaches sharing.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers learn about pet behavior and care, sharing, problem-solving, and making a truce.

Positive Messages

Martha Speaks: Toy Trouble offers positive messages about why sharing is important, and how to negotiate sharing and problem-solving.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Human characters are engaged and caring toward one another and the pets.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Martha Speaks: Toy Trouble is a beginning-reader book about sharing. It has simple sentences and basic words, but also builds vocabulary by introducing concepts, such as a truce. The Kindle version has a formatting issue where the image appears with corresponding text, then the text is repeated on the next page, making it somewhat challenging to follow.

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What's the story?

Dogs Skits and Martha are playing with a toy puppet, and neither of them wants to share. Since there's only one puppet, how can owners T.D. and Helen teach their pets to work together? Will they learn to call a truce or will fighting ruin their play date?

Is it any good?

MARTHA SPEAKS: TOY TROUBLE is a great introduction to Martha for beginning readers ready for problem-solving stories. Readers can puzzle over how to teach the dogs to play nice and take turns, share in Helen's frustration when they won't listen, and empathize with her sense of accomplishment as she finds a workable solution. The simple, evocative storyline, illustrated with cartoon-style drawings, keeps an easy, engaging pace for the beginner. 

Kids who like dogs and the Martha series will find a relatable tale here, and parents can appreciate the new concepts, positive messages, and problem-solving.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sharing. Why is sharing important? Is it hard or easy for you to share? Why? What can you do to get better at sharing?

  • Why are kids' books about dogs so popular? What's fun about dog stories? 

  • Can pets learn to share? Have you ever taught an animal to share? What was it like?

Book details

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