Martha Speaks

Common Sense Media says

Chatty canine's vocab lessons are fun for kids.





What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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?

This review of Martha Speaks was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 17 year old Written bykrypto fan August 15, 2009
i love when she dreams of becomeig a firehous dog
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 2 year old Written byemmecj January 19, 2011
It is entertaining and one I do not mind watching along (along with Arthur.)
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 5 year old Written bykelliemejia929 June 6, 2010

Great vocabulary builder


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide