Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
188 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

Why are children vanishing from their beds in the middle of the night? And what does the local toymaker have to do with their disappearances? Find out in the exciting children's fantasy, Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium by M. J. Evans. The story begins on East Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where an exclusive and delightful toy store is located. Owned by Mr. Figgletoes, the enchanting shop contains a vast selection of unique toys. Recently, a scary witch with evil plans for the children of Coeur d'Alene has infiltrated Mr. Figgletoes' Emporium. Now, after making a purchase at Mr. Figgletoes' shop, select customers, along with their new toys, disappear during the night. What is the mean old witch going to do with her captives? Can Mr. Figgletoes be trusted?

Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium by M. J. Evans is a delightful and entertaining children's fantasy book with an important message. With enchanting imagery, incredible illustrations, and a thought-provoking plot, this charming story captures the essence of childish qualities and dispositions. Easy to read and understand, it promotes unconditional love and consideration for others. Capturing the heart and imagination, the characters are engaging, realistic, and relatable. Jasmine, Frederick, and Brinnli accurately display the characteristics of an average child. I admired how Parker passed on the lessons life had already taught him to the others. It was gratifying to witness the children emotionally grow and mature as they began to realize the world didn't revolve around them. With a wicked witch, magic, and a mystery, children from the ages of eight and up will love this enchanting book.

Jack Magnus

Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium is a dark adventure fantasy for children and preteens written by M.J. Evans and illustrated by Gaspar Sabater. Eight-year-old Jasmine knew her dad had to stop the car so they could visit the Toy Emporium. She was certainly due for another stuffed animal for her bed even if her father, who was trying to get to work on time, wasn’t convinced. Still, Jasmine prevailed, as she knew she would. The harried father and daughter entered the toy store and were greeted by Mr. Figgletoes, who, happily enough for a toy store owner, looked just like Santa Claus. And he knew Jasmine and her dad quite well after all their visits to his store. Hearing what they were shopping for that morning, he had the perfect stuffed animal in mind for her. It had just come into the store and was a one-of-a-kind, a stuffed zebra. Jasmine knew she had to have it, and left the store proudly bearing her new toy. Something very strange, awful even, happened that night, however, while she slept with her arms around her new toy. Something completely unexpected.

M.J. Evans’ Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium pits a trio of entitled kids against a frightening witch whose plans for the children of Coeur d’Alene are gruesome indeed. Evans’ plot is imaginative and thrilling, and her characters are finely honed and authentic. Gaspar Sabater’s illustrations enhance the mood of the story, and his witch is genuinely frightening to behold. While not in the target audience, I found this novel to be enjoyable and was reluctant to put it down until I had reached the end. Anyone who enjoys dark urban fantasy should give this book a try. Mr. Figgletoes' Toy Emporium is highly recommended.

Tiffany Ferrell

Mr. Figgletoes has been a toymaker for a very long time. He takes pride in his work and goes out of his way to find the perfect toy for every girl and boy. When four children disappear the night after purchasing an item from the store, a twin set of investigators suspect the old man had a part to play in it. Meanwhile, Jasmine, Frederick, Brinnli, and Parker find themselves in the lair of a local witch, Miss Twizzle. The witch hates children, but she especially dislikes mean and rude children like Jasmine, Frederick, and Brinnli. Each child is spoiled rotten and finds themselves being made to do chores that they should have done in their respective homes as good children should. Parker is the exception, being a selfless boy who had spent his toy money on a doll for his very sick little sister. The other children don’t want to listen to the witch and pay the price by being slowly turned into fish. Parker knows there has to be a way out from Miss Twizzle’s home, but can he save the others and see his little sister before it’s too late? Will Miss Twizzle see that he isn’t like the others and is actually a kind boy, or will she let her hatred of children blind her to the fact?

Mr. Figgletoes’ Toy Emporium by M.J. Evans is a fascinating story. The characters in the book were very relatable and easy to like or dislike. I liked the idea of these bad-mannered children getting kidnapped by a mean witch who makes them do the chores and help in ways that they should have at home but didn’t because they were spoiled rotten. I felt bad for Parker though, since we could tell he wasn’t like the other three but, in the end, it felt like he taught the other kids a valuable lesson on being kind and helpful. I also, of course, liked that it had a happy ending that conveyed the message clearly to the young reader. The illustrations were well crafted and fit perfectly, also giving a sense of what the characters and their environment look like. Overall, I think M.J. Evans has done a fantastic job and I’d love to read more of their work.