Martha Speaks

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Martha Speaks TV Poster Image
Chatty canine's vocab lessons are fun for kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational value

Specifically designed to be educational, the show introduces four vocabulary words in context during each episode. Social lessons about kindness, friendship, and being responsible also come through.

Positive messages

The series expands kids' vocabulary by introducing new words and incorporating their definitions into dialogue. It also promotes positive messages about qualities like friendliness, kindness, and self-esteem.

Positive role models & representations

Martha is eager to learn and eager to help, even if her enthusiasm sometimes gets her and others into sticky situations. All the other characters are positive and learn important lessons about helping out, being responsible, etc.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

The show is based on a series of children's books by Susan Meddaugh.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this animated series based on books by Susan Meddaugh expands preschoolers' vocabulary by introducing complex words ("remedy," "opinion," and "deserted," to name a few) and incorporating the words' meanings into the characters' dialogue. Since the show centers on a pet dog who gains the ability to speak after she's accidentally fed alphabet soup, kids may need to be reminded that it's not a good idea to give human food to pets in real life.

User Reviews

Adult Written byRecessGymClass August 29, 2016

I was never a fan of the books, but this is atrocious.

This show is a big, fat failure on so many levels. Here is why: The theme song is annoying. The lyrics are bad, the music is poor, and the beat is bland and pr... Continue reading
Parent Written byjbj6 June 15, 2011
Teen, 16 years old Written bytonytorresan884 December 25, 2013

One of the only GOOD PBS Kids shows left.

I LOVE this show. It's educational, teaches kids cool words, nice animation, and the voice acting is great too!
Teen, 16 years old Written byGregoryMccormick123 July 16, 2014

A good show from the modern day PBS Kids? Pinch me I must be dreaming.

A good show from PBS Kids is very rare these days. Martha Speaks is one of them. It teaches awesome words, the animation is really charming, the characters are... Continue reading

What's the story?

MARTHA SPEAKS is based on Susan Meddaugh series of kids' books about a beloved family dog that gains the ability to talk after she eats alphabet soup and the letters are diverted from her stomach to her brain. Now graced with the gift of gab, Martha (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) is eager to share her many opinions with anyone who will listen. That's all well and good until Martha's inexperience with the social intricacies of talking -- like when to stop! -- gets her into some hilariously sticky situations, and her 10-year-old human, Helen, must teach her the responsibilities that accompany her new skill.

Is it any good?

Who doesn't love a story about talking animals? It's always fun to see the world through their eyes, and Martha's no exception. Kids will quickly fall in love with the charming yellow canine at the heart of this series because she's fun-loving and excited to learn new things. What's more, kids will probably relate to her ups and downs as she discovers there's a lot more to responsible communication than just saying whatever you want whenever you feel like it.

From an educational perspective, Martha Speaks does a good job of exposing kids to new vocabulary. Four new words related to the story's theme are introduced in each segment; the new material is reinforced with a brief recap at the end. The show also makes an effort to weave in positive messages about qualities like self-confidence, friendship, and civic responsibility -- all great lessons for young kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about communication. Before Martha could speak, how did she communicate her needs to her family? Do you think they were able to understand her? How would you communicate if you couldn't talk? Have you ever gotten into trouble because of something you've said? What did you learn from the situation? What does Martha learn about when to share her opinions? Can you think of a time when it might be better to not give your opinion?

TV details

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