Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright

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Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright

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Buy Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A naughty girl runs her nanny ragged in a picture book with plenty of charm, but that also has room for improvement.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Egmont
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1405240789

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Martha Felicity Molly-Anne May gets through nannies faster than most kids get through... well, everything. She's a bit of a handful is our Martha, always doing what she shouldn't, and running her nanny ragged. Her day is, unsurprisingly, peppered with cries of Martha, noooo!

There's a lot to enjoy in Martha, No!, particularly the old-school charm. Any mention of nannies immediately brings to mind Mary Poppins and the whole world of Hilaire Belloc. No modern takes here - this could have been written 50 or 100 years ago without any significant changes, and that adds strongly to the quality. Although I tend to prefer iconoclastic modern picture books, it's lovely to get back to a classic feel often, and Martha, No! does exactly that.

Deborah Allwright's illustrations suit the mood wonderfully. Much like the text, they have a classic charm to them, but they never feel remotely stuffy or twee. Martha's naughtiness is a joy to behold, and I particularly loved seeing her stacks of teacups. Kids will love seeing all the shenanigans Martha gets up to, and will often want to pore over a page.

It's not unabashed praise from me though. There's one clunk, one nit-pick and one grumble. Clunk first: whilst the rhymes are strong throughout, the rhythm isn't always perfect. On a few occasions it feels like there's a syllable too many, or you need to backtrack to change the emphasis. Repeated readings make it easier, but it could have been much tighter. That said, I loved the line:

But with two and then three cups, her teacups soon grow...

Three cups/teacups. Brilliant flow, huh?

The grumble concerns the message: no-one but mothers can look after kids. I suppose actually the message is that only dumping kids with nannies is a bad idea, which is, of course, true, but it could have been phrased better to give a better impression. As for the nit-pick, Martha goes to the Science Museum to see the tyrannosaurus. Maybe it's different in other countries, but here in the UK, that should be the Natural History Museum. I know I shouldn't mind as much as I do, but I'm afraid I do.

None of the negatives spoil the book, but they do make it seem like a missed opportunity to be a must-have. Maybe you'll mind them less than I will. Martha, No! is certainly worth a look.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Jim, Who Ran Away From His Nurse and Was Eaten By A Lion by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey fits perfectly into the world of nannies and naughty kids. Hattie the Bad by Jane Devlin and Joe Berger is hilarious. What Small Rabbit Heard by Sheryl Webster and Tim Warnes is about a rabbit rather than a person, but Small Rabbit is a little bit cheeky and great fun.

Buy Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Martha, No! by Edward Hardy and Deborah Allwright at Amazon.com.

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