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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It’s a hot day and you want to go to the beach and enjoy some ice cream with friends. The only problem is that you’re in a wheelchair. In Squishy Sand (Book 1 in Leigh's Wheelie Adventures), Charlene McIver and Caroline Key describe how Leigh has been in a wheelchair most of his life and he’s well aware of the restrictions it imposes – like the seemingly impossible issue of navigating the device through squishy sand. His friends, Cosmo and Tara, are determined to find a way for Leigh to enjoy the sandy beach, even in his wheelchair. After several failed attempts, and not giving up, the trio improvises, using their creative imagination to come up with a solution - one that they’ll all enjoy.
Charlene McIver and Caroline Key’s picture book Squishy Sand is the first in a new series. Based on Leigh’s real-life adventures living in a wheelchair, this story will appeal to the young reader and educate them on the challenges children with disabilities face daily. The story also highlights the importance of friendships, teamwork, imagination, and never giving up. Using simple language so young readers can follow along, and with colorful and exciting illustrations, the plot follows Leigh’s dilemma at the beach. The three children interact with lively conversation and the font used varies depending on the excitement level the author wants to project. This is a compassionate and heartwarming story about determination when all odds are seemingly stacked against you. At the end of the book is a QR code to direct young readers to a video and read-along activity. Both engaging and educational, this is a beautiful story.