Monday, July 25, 2011

Martha Speaks: Pool Party

Martha, the talking dog, returns to take readers on a pool party adventure!

Barss, Karen.
Martha Speaks: Pool Party.
April 2011.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Martha the talking dog and her pals reach out to readers to pass along several important lessons about summer sun and skin care. Alice takes great care to keep her skin safe in the heat and sun of summer, tediously applying "sunscreen" to prevent a sunburn. However, as Alice applies more and more of the sunscreen, her skin begins to take on an orange color - the result of using self-tanning sunscreen as opposed to regular old sunscreen that protects against burns.

The book intends to educate children about the importance of taking care of your skin during the summertime. However, Alice's friends all ended up using the self-tanning sunscreen (which contains a chemical dye) to ensure Alice doesn't feel out of place at the pool party and I wonder if that might not be giving children the wrong message! While it's great that the children are concerned about each other, using a chemical to ensure someone else doesn't stand out doesn't seem to give the right message to me. The book is a great story and is meant to act as a reminder about summer safety... provided parents share AND discuss all this with children during reading, it's a great summer book! Thoughts anyone?

Learning/Reading Activity:
  • After reading Martha Speaks: Pool Party, talk with your children about the importance of using sunscreen to protect against sunburns. Be sure also, to discuss how sunscreen is similar to a "medicine" and should be used only with adult supervision and permission. It's not something to be messed with!
  • Have your child(ren), in their summer reading journal create a list of 10 Summer Safety Tips. After they have created their list, ask them to share it with you. Discuss their ideas and don't forget to add in tips of your own (sun safety, bicycle safety, stranger danger, pool safety, etc).

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