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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
Mr. Gringle's Magical Wheelchair by Natalie Gonchar is a wonderful storybook for children. Lisa is in a wheelchair and the one thing she loves the most is going out to play with her friends. But there are two bullies in the neighborhood and when one scares her, the wheelchair breaks. Mr. Gringle, their neighbor, gives her a new wheelchair painted in bright colors and covered in glittery rhinestones. Then he tells her it is magical but she doesn’t believe him – until she stands up to the bullies, something she has never done before. Then she helps her friends to stand up to the bullies too and becomes a school hero. Could it be that Mr. Gringle was telling the truth? Her wheelchair really is magic?
Mr. Gringle’s Magical Wheelchair is a truly enchanting story with some amazing illustrations that really add to the story, bringing it alive on the pages. It’s great to see children’s books that illustrate disabilities, not as something to be ashamed of but as something that brings power. This is an exceptionally well-written story, very clear and using simple language, told in an engaging way that draws you into the events. It tackles the age-old problem of bullying in a unique way, telling children that, no matter what, bullying is wrong and they should always stand up to it in the best way possible. And if you have to believe in a little magic to get there, there’s nothing wrong with that. I thought the whole story was depicted well, short and to the point, and gets its message across beautifully, along with the point that the real magic lives deep within us; we just have to believe.