cover image Martha Doesn't Say Sorry!

Martha Doesn't Say Sorry!

Samantha Berger, , illus. by Bruce Whatley. . Little, Brown, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-316-06682-2

Martha, a young otter, is a girl of many accomplishments and social graces (“She does give hugs. She does share her snack. She does make presents. She does read stories”). But apologizing is definitely not her thing, and after a spectacular day of misbehaving, her family draws the line. No apology? Then no cookies, piggyback rides or hugs. Can Martha rise to the occasion? Comparisons to Olivia may be inevitable, and while Martha isn't playing in that league, she has plenty of charm. Whatley's minimalist composition approach, used to great effect in Diary of a Wombat , returns, though his single-plane perspective grows monotonous. But he never overplays his hand, and his astute portraits (the family members are especially good at upturned noses of disapproval) should elicit giggles. Berger (Junior Goes to School ) is a sly, sharp writer who clearly understands just how much is at stake for her heroine, which should make the message go down easy with readers. Ages 3–6. (May)