Book Review: Jon and the Toymakers of Toymakerville

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Jon and the Toymakers of Toymakerville: Another American Christmas Story, by Arthur Morton (September Writer, 2018, $19.95, 102 pages, ages 3-12)

Jon and the Toymakers is two books in one: first, we follow Jon and his perfect family as they find and chop down the perfect Christmas tree, bring it home and decorate it. Secondly, we follow Jon as he sneakily opens a gift early (that he was not supposed to), is transported on a scary midnight adventure then returns home to try to make up for his misdeed in order to save Christmas.

Lessons learned are obvious yet stated and re-stated many times.

The finding-the-Christmas tree half reads like a middle-schooler’s report about how he spent his summer vacation – chronologically to the nth degree, with missing literary magic.

The second part of the book reads a bit more interesting but again is told as it happens (perhaps the author has a day job writing how-to instructions?) with way too much detail and repetitive repetition. The reader can easily guess what comes next.

The two morals of Jon and the Toymakers are exceedingly obvious and I fear the readership will be exceedingly bored. The reader will re-learn about the value of family, love, obedience and being kind to others.

However, some of the illustrations are intricately wondrous – those of scenery rather than of people. They are lovely watercolor depictions of the season.

We were interested in this book because our family has both a Jon and a Harper (but our Harper is a boy not a girl).

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Caveat: We were sent a paperback copy for review and found the large size just a bit too unwieldy to easily read by one (aged 12) or even two together (aged 3 and someone older). It would, however, be fine in hardback or, even better, as a very short Golden Book.

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