Medieval Mashup (Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures)
Charlene McIver (Author); Caroline Keys (Illustrator)
Independently Published (2022)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (03/2022)
I have to say, as a grandmother, Leigh and his friends appearing in this series have become one of my granddaughter’s absolute favorite casts to read. She and I met these incredible characters in “Squishy Sand,” where Leigh and his friends went to the beach. In that tale, Leigh was dealing with fear because, being that he’s in a wheelchair, he was afraid of falling while trying to trek his tires across the sand. It was his friends, Cosmo and Tara, who helped Leigh and put together a fun adventure of all kinds of failed attempts in order to have a memorable, great day at the beach. Not only did this story appeal to young readers, but it also offered some very real lessons that all kids should learn at a young age. Not only does it call out to those with disabilities that life can still be an exciting, fun journey; it also shows other children how to be kind, attentive, and helpful to their friends—without judging someone on their “look” or handicap.
When “Medieval Mashup” came around, I jumped right at it. (LOL) Why? Because I already knew my granddaughter and I would get a great book to read, I also knew it would be beautifully illustrated and allow my granddaughter to laugh and enjoy herself. And… I was absolutely right. Book two is just as good as the first book in this series, so parents and grandparents should shout it from the rooftops.
This time around, Leigh is doing his best to stay strong and not let his disability get to him while he and Cosmo and Tara make costumes for the Medieval Fair their school is holding. Leigh wants to be that knight in shining armor and gets a bit testy with his friends as they start goofing around and having fun during their ‘project’ day. Leigh wants more than anything to look cool… like everyone else will. But as time moves forward, Leigh starts to kick his anger and impatience away and starts to see the joy in all of it.
Leigh is one of those characters that is absolutely engaging, even for the adult readers who are sharing the book with their children and grandchildren. He and his friends are realistic, they go through the same troubles everyone else does, and they shed a bright light on righting the wrongs out there of bullying and anger, which is still prevalent on the playgrounds of our children today.
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that this is a series that won the “Little Parachutes Gold Award,” seeing as that it truly instills in children (and, hopefully, the adults who are reading it), the necessity of empathy and kindness that we all need to show each other in order to make this world a far better place to live.
This completely charming story, combined with adorable illustrations, yet again proves to the children’s fiction realm how creative author Charlene McIver is and how her stories resonate with all who read them. Two for two—I can’t wait to see number three. Like Seuss, I hope this is one author (and series) that goes on for a good, long time to come. “5-Stars!”