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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
Kip and the Magical Belt by Victoria Gracie chronicles Kip’s experiences as he settles into a new school. When Kip goes to live with his Grammy, he is excited to spend time with her. He helps her with the chores around the home and they spend time talking and laughing together. Before Kip begins life at his new school, he discovers a rough-looking belt that belonged to his grandfather. On his first day of school, Kip goes through a traumatizing experience. He is pushed to the ground just after getting off the bus. At lunchtime, he realizes that someone took his lunch. As the days pass, Kip continues to be on the receiving end of his bully’s antics. Will Kip learn to stand up for himself and what role will the belt play in helping Kip find his voice?
Underscored by lessons that can be learned through jiu-jitsu, Victoria Gracie’s Kip and the Magical Belt creates a relatable and crucial lesson for many children. The lesson is to learn to stand up for themselves by not using violence but through confidence. The characters in the story are well defined and they are enhanced by imaginative illustrations. The characters are few and their roles in the work are clear. Kip faces a hard-hearted bully and, being new in the school, he is the most likely victim. The belt’s special quality adds an element of surprise which makes the story even more interesting. The book includes an end section that guides parents on how to engage their children in discussions about bullying. While remaining fun and relatable, Kip and the Magical Belt teaches a timely and powerful lesson.