Corporate downsizing has a dismaying effect on the loquacious, alphabet-soup-slurping heroine of Martha Speaks (1992) and Martha Calling (1994). After the new owner of Granny's Soup Company lays off half her alphabeticians (including Alf, who makes the letter A) and changes the motto from ""Every letter in every can"" to ""Letters in every can,"" Martha's utterances suddenly become incomprehensible: ""Good soup today"" comes out ""Goo-oup-o""; ""Something is wrong"" emerges as ""Ohigiwog."" Only Martha's disconsolate ""woof"" and her rather portly figure remain unchanged. In Meddaugh's fluid ink and watercolor scenes, Martha doesn't stay down for long; lapping up the last can of original Granny's, she races off to the factory and tricks the owner into rehiring the laid-off letter punchers. Martha says it all at the end: ""What would people do without dogs?"" Without this particular dog, they would have fewer laughs.