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How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans Hardcover – Picture Book, April 18, 2013
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"Despicably delightful. The expressions on Martha’s dog’s face, alone, are worth the read." - Library Media Connection
"LaRochelle's text is both picturesque and succinct, a tasty treat to read aloud." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Dramatically comic illustrations rely on bold colors as well as exaggerated gestures and facial expressions to heighten the absurd...a must for picky eaters." - Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Mark Fearing's animated shorts have been seen on a variety of TV stations and film festivals. He has illustrated several books for children and considers himself barely an adult. He currently works across mediums and love to tell stories with words and pictures.
- Publisher : Dial Books; Illustrated edition (April 18, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0803737661
- ISBN-13 : 978-0803737662
- Reading age : 5 - 8 years
- Lexile measure : AD540L
- Grade level : Kindergarten - 3
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 8.88 x 0.33 x 11.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #79,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The whole Martha-hates-green-beans thing suggested we might be heading into precious territory. The whole kids-hate-vegetables cliche has never appealed to me as a surefire laugher. We're giving this to a grandchild who loves veggies. When at our house at lunchtime he actually requests "green food". And he's otherwise a normal, bright appealing little kid. So, with a questionable setup why did this work so well?
First off, the story's tone is just right. Martha has to not like veggies. Then she has to enjoy having her parents kidnapped and gone for a few hours before she then gets lonely and misses them. Then she has to face down the mean green bean banditos and save her parents. Then we have to have some satisfying wrap up to the veggie eating issue. At any one of these points the book could have taken an odd, weird or tone-deaf turn. But it doesn't. The story is a bit of a lark but it always seems authentic, grounded and silly-honest. Martha, aided by her deadpan but expressive dog, always comes across as an actual, interesting, basically sound kid. And once you get the kid right, everything else falls into place.
Second, the drawing complements the story perfectly. Mom and Dad look like parents and Martha looks like a kid. Best, though, the green bean banditos are a scream. Each tough and stringy bean has a different look and the whole gang is drawn in just the right exaggerated, silly, menacing, goofy style. Once you get a green bean with a curly moustache, black cowboy hat and pointy boots, you've got a real villain.
So, it's funny, it's never odd or awkward, and it's cheerfully silly. I'm not sure if it will get reluctant kids to eat veggies, (really, the moral instruction angle is not the point), but I guess it does put the issue on the table. A happy, fun find.