Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium
Dancing Horse Press
Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium is a magical toy story recommended for advanced elementary to early middle grade readers. It tells of an eight-year-old girl who stumbles into an extraordinary shop that changes everything.
Jasmine has spent her life being stubborn. Her insistence on stopping at this magical-sounding store, and her spoiled attitude, will prove surprising strengths in the adventure that follows.
Parker is a young boy whose sister Kylie is ill. Used to being the 'man of the house' after his father was killed, ten-year-old Parker has been able to tackle everything life has thrown at him...until now. His desperate visit to the only place he thinks will contain something that can help, the Toy Emporium, leads to a special gift that changes everything.
Young readers will especially appreciate the attention to detail and action that M.J. Evans cultivates in this fun fantasy. As investigators struggle to find four missing children, Jasmine's stubbornness and defiance serves her well and aids in her survival, while Parker finds within himself a special form of courage that also can change everything. Both confront the true meaning of the elusive toymaker Mr. Figgletoes's magical emporium and its different impact on their lives.
As a concerned parent connects the dots which sends Mr. Figgletoes on a mission, young readers will delight in the interactions, personalities, and involvements of a cast of characters who support courage and their own special interests.
Humor permeates the story, as do surprises, when some of the adversarial characters turn out to be unexpectedly warm folk who also deserve a break and help.
The magic in Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium lies not just in the adventure, but in the revelations which lead Jasmine and Parker to reconsider their views of the world and their places in it. They each find different answers as their challenge themselves and seek to fix those things in their world which are going awry.
Just as the toy emporium's magic changes everyone for the better, so young readers will find their expectations and perceptions of the characters in flux. The result is not just a fun magical adventure, but the story of true transformation, using one's strengths and changing the world for the better.
Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium is very highly recommended for young readers looking for a tale of magic which evolves into something even more delightful, advocating for a kinder world. Right now, this message is most welcome.