FICTION

Martha, No!

Martha, No! illus. by Deborah Allwright. unpaged. Egmont USA. Mar. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-266-9. LC number unavailable.
COPY ISBN
PreS-K—Full of energy and derring-do, Martha Felicity Molly-Anne May befuddles one nanny after another with her outlandish behavior. During an outing with her new caregiver, Miss Harrington-Chive, the child blasts out of a sidewalk musician's trombone, stands on the jaw of a huge dinosaur at the museum, and spins dough at the pizza parlor-with little regard for the chaos left behind. The nanny's repeated pleas, "Martha, No!" go completely unheard until a bunch of balloons on a long string sends the girl across the sky and back home into her mother's arms. When Mother declares, "no more nannies," Martha May agrees, which seems to be what she wanted all along-making one wonder if this is a message is for adults rather than a story for children. The pages are colorful and action filled, but the central character has little personality. Ian Falconer's "Olivia" books (S & S) provide a richer reading experience and feature a protagonist with much more dimension.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Sure, Martha may look cute and seem sweet, but her adventurous nature keeps driving away her nannies, including the new hire introduced here. Some adults may find the denouement judgmental--Martha is overjoyed by her mom's decision to take care of her herself--but no one can deny Hardy's flair for rhyme and Allwright's command of this giddy-making material.

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