One day a friend foisted a stray dog on Susan Meddaugh. Usually a soft touch when it comes to animals, Meddaugh had her misgivings. She named the dog Martha after her friend. If the dog was horrible, the name would be her revenge, but if the dog was wonderful, the friend would be forever honored. Martha not only turned out to be a fabulous dog, she was the inspiration for Meddaugh’s most famous children’s books. Technically, Meddaugh’s son came up with the idea for Martha Speaks (Houghton Mifflin, 1992). He was eating a bowl of alphabet soup at the kitchen table, while Martha nosed around looking for her next meal. “If Martha ate alphabet soup, would she speak?” he asked.“Ideas are gifts,” says Meddaugh. “But if you do what I do, you’re ready to grab them.” Although Meddaugh never intended to write and illustrate a series of Martha books, ideas and situations unique to Martha kept popping into her mind and she realized she wanted to find out what happened to her next [excerpted from my Susan Meddaugh profile].
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