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Best friend on wheels / by Debra Shirley ; illustrated by Judy Stead.

By: Shirley, Debra.
Contributor(s): Stead, Judy.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Morton Grove, Ill. : Albert Whitman & Co., 2008Description: p. cm.ISBN: 9780807588680 (hardcover).Subject(s): Stories in rhyme | Friendship -- Fiction | Wheelchairs -- Fiction | Individuality -- Fiction | Best friends -- Fiction | People with disabilities -- FictionDDC classification: [E] Summary: A young girl relates all the ways she and her best friend, Sarah, are alike, in spite of the fact that Sarah uses a wheelchair.
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A young girl relates all the ways she and her best friend, Sarah, are alike, in spite of the fact that Sarah uses a wheelchair.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

A worthy message does not redeem the forced storyline and flat illustrations in this book about two girls, one of whom is wheelchair-bound. On the first spreads, the narrator lists the ways she and her best friend, Sarah, are alike; both are seen only from the waist up until the narrator acknowledges, "We're different in one way--she uses a wheelchair./ She rolls and I walk when we want to go somewhere." Rhymed couplets chronicle the story of their friendship, beginning with their first meeting: "I was so nervous, I stammered and stuttered./ I might say the wrong thing, I thought--so I muttered./ I wanted to get a good look at her chair,/ but I felt like a jerk, so I tried not to stare." Then the narrator notices that Sarah is wearing a "Rock Hound" button and she "yelp[s] with delight!" as she also collects rocks. This episode prefigures a similarly strained scene with an ice cream vendor who ignores Sarah until she notices Sarah's "I (heart) my finches" button, whereupon she announces that she owns 20 birds and is instantly at ease. This book protests too much to convince anyone. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-A rhyming text looks at two friends who share good times. It begins with a list of interests they share, and the colorful cartoon illustrations delightfully capture them in their favorite activities-reading, playing Frisbee, eating pizza (both pick off the peppers). It's not until several pages into the book that Sarah's wheelchair is revealed. Then the narrator flashes back to the day her second-grade teacher suggested that she show the new girl around. "When I saw she was using a wheelchair, I froze.-/I stammered and stuttered./I might say the wrong thing, I thought-so I muttered. I wanted to get a good look at her chair,/but I felt like a jerk, so I tried not to stare." Children will identify with these feelings. The girls find something in common to begin a conversation-they are both "rock hounds." The rhyme moves quickly yet touches on many aspects of life for people in wheelchairs-the rude reactions, getting into bed, and children's normal activities. The artwork conveys the same positive fun as the text. The book's lesson is evident without being didactic; the story focuses on real friendship, not the disability. The narrator sums it up: "It's odd that the moment I met her I'm sure/I saw only the wheelchair-./but now I see Sarah first-and she's cool!" This is an excellent addition that will work for groups as well as individual reading.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

When this book's narrator first meets Sarah, who uses a wheelchair, she feels awkward and is afraid she'll say the wrong thing. Once the girls discover all the interests they have in common--such as collecting rocks, reading books, and ballet--they soon become best friends. The rhyming text's message is obvious, but the playful illustrations keep the tone light. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

Shirley celebrates friendship and helps dispel many misconceptions about life in a wheelchair. Best friends like many of the same things and these two girls are no different. They adore peach pie and Frisbee and pizza without the peppers. They first met in second grade when the teacher asks the rhyming narrator to show the new girl around. When she sees that the new pig-tailed student is in a wheelchair, her unease is such that she fidgets and stammers. Then she sees the badge that says, "ROCKHOUND." Quickly, discomfort vanishes as the girls bubble with enthusiasm over their shared interest. As their friendship grows she learns that, though the wheelchair clearly changes her friend's life, her personality still shines through. They can still stay up late at sleepovers and even dance: "She spins on her wheels and twirls every which way." She learns that it's mostly others who feel uncomfortable and have difficulty seeing past the wheelchair to the person. Stead's energetic illustrations add to the atmosphere of exuberance with bright yellows and pinks and the pure delight shining from the girl's faces. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright ┬ęKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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