Market Day by Miranda Harmon

Oh, wow, I’m playing in a Wild Beyond The Witchlight campaign right now, and this is like the perfect G-rated accompaniment to the Carnival that more or less opens the proceedings!

Bright, colorful and filled with magic, Market Day is the story of anthropomorphic animals selling and buying wares at a day-long market. Ginger, Cinnamon and Nutmeg are the namesakes of 3 Kittens Bakery, the market stand run by their mom and serving all sorts of delicious baked goods. After a long morning of learning how to help Mom sell goodies and help customers, they’re sent off to enjoy the market with some coins and a bag of pastries to barter. Mom does tell them that they have to be back by sunset for a magical surprise!

As the kittens explore the market, grabbing some lunch and oohing and aahing over the assortment of items for sale, they decide that they want to get Mom a gift, too. But what to get, and what to do when their budget doesn’t seem to quite cover their desires? Worst of all, what will happen if they get lost and can’t figure out how to get back to Mom in time for the surprise?

This was a very cute, very colorful exploration of basic commerce in a cozy setting. Perhaps weirdly, I found it a much easier read when not trying to get my youngest to read along with me. While he is usually a big fan of both cats and baked goods — and has recently shown interest in playing pretend store — this book just didn’t engage him. I think he was a little confused by the kittens, whose identities only emerge over the course of the book. I also think he had a bit of a sensory overload with all the characters and all the stalls and bright colors.

As a maximalist, I loved every minute of this charming graphic novel-picture book hybrid. Not every reader is going to like every book — my kids definitely prefer their reading to have a lot more overt humor in it — but this is a lovely volume for any reader who enjoys a ton of detail and visual lushness. It’s also a really good primer on the basic material transactions of life, whether via commerce or gift-giving. Bonus points for the ability to hand this to the kid who probably isn’t ready to join your D&D game but wants to feel included anyway, lol.

Market Day by Miranda Harmon was published January 2 2024 by Holiday House and is available from all good booksellers, including

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