The Magical Christmas Store

Tiger Tales. Sept. 2021. 36p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781680102642.
PreS-Gr 2–Window shopping on Christmas Eve leaves Benji feeling blue. This year his family doesn’t have enough money to celebrate Christmas with a tree, turkey, and presents. On his way home, he runs into a white polar bear who leads him to an extraordinary gift store. A shiny steam engine appears on a golden track that transports him to magical rooms to find gifts for his family. Benji finds a trumpet for his sister in the room of silly sounds. A magnificent hat just right for his grandma appears in the room of imaginary gifts. And he finds a jar of joy in the room of fabulous smells for his dad. Benji is asked to only sing a song and tell a story as payment. He is excited to go home and place the new presents under his tree. But on Christmas morning he is disappointed to see just an empty hat box, a twisted trumpet, and a jelly jar. To Benji’s surprise, everyone declares the resourceful gifts “wonderful.” Giang portrays the gift store as a glittering wonderland through a painterly palette of bright holiday colors that pop off the page. Benji and his family present as Asian, and anthropomorphic animals run the Magical Christmas Store.
VERDICT Cute illustrations accompany a story that imparts a vision of heartfelt Yuletide traditions.

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