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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Children love their toys – the more the merrier. But, no sooner do they retrieve a favorite toy and start playing with it, then another toy catches their interest and the first favorite toy is abandoned, usually somewhere in their bedroom. By the end of the day, a child’s bedroom can be a minefield of toys, which is something Gelli Belle’s Daddy discovers one morning when he walks into his daughter’s room and trips over her toys. He has a solution. It’s time for Grandma’s magic toy chest. He takes Gelli Belle to the basement where they find the old chest, dirty and worn. Gelli Belle’s not too sure, but Daddy is determined. He cleans it up and brings it to her room, looking all sparkling and almost like new. Will the magic of the chest help Gelli Belle keep her room tidy?
Vernae Bezear’s picture book story, Gelli Belle and The Magic Toy Chest, is full of its own kind of magic, the magic that all parents dream of when trying to coerce their children to pick up their toys at the end of the day. With colorful illustrations and told in rhyming verse, this story will appeal to the young reader as well as the ever-optimistic parent who hopes there is a lesson to learn within these pages. And there is: it’s a magic lesson, one that teaches young children that there is a bit of magic in any toy chest because, once full, every morning it greets the child with a new sense of excitement. A charming, heartwarming story.