Cover image for The toy book
The toy book
Asakawa, Gil, 1957-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : distributed by Random House, 1992.
Physical Description:
208 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Published simultaneously in Canada.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ784.T68 A83 1992 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Rare Books-Appointment Needed

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In a shameless--but effective--ploy to win the hearts and book-buying bucks of Baby Boomers, The Toy Book celebrates the playthings of the post-World War II generation. Whatever toy may have been your childhood favorite, it's almost certain to be included, from such 1940s fixtures as Lionel trains and Lincoln Logs, through 1950s fads like Hula Hoops and cowboy pistols, up to the Barbies and slot cars of the 1960s. Although the book isn't quite large or lavish enough to justify its hefty price tag, the text and the 200-plus period photos and advertisements nonetheless effectively evoke the smell of Crayolas, the sound of a Slinky, and the feel of a Davy Crockett coonskin cap--sort of like the ultimate Sears Christmas catalog would. The chronicle ends with the first video game, Pong, which marked a new, electronic era for toys--one that's too recent for nostalgic treatment. ~--Gordon Flagg

Publisher's Weekly Review

The idea for the Hula-Hoop came from Wham-O, an Australian bamboo exercizer. Slinky got its name from the inventors' flipping through the dictionary. Full of such arcana, this well-designed survey of the toys of the baby-boom generation combines an engaging social history of toys with over 200 color shots of major memory-joggers--Erector sets, Frisbees, Barbie dolls, Monopoly, the Easy-Bake Oven, Silly Putty--and generic playthings like roller skates, backyard vinyl pools and gas-powered model planes. The book's front cover (not seen by PW ) is touted as interactive, with a Ken who whistles at Barbie when his lips are pressed, a car siren that sounds when the steering wheel is touched, etc. The authors are Denver-based journalists. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Unlike most books on old toys, which tend to emphasize the things that appeal to modern collectors, The Toy Book emphasizes what appeals to kids. It includes not only collectibles like Lionel and Barbie, but also the things kids loved that don't look great on display shelves--Slinkys, Silly Putty, Play-Doh, and Hula Hoops. The authors concentrate on the toys of the postwar baby-boom generation, from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. Although the text is bouncy and nostalgic rather than scholarly, it's full of solid information and historical detail. The 200 photographs--monochrome halftones painted in bright colors--are as much evocative as illustrative. The cover is scheduled to include electronic sound effects, which run on a battery. As an item of nostalgia, the book should especially appeal to the great masses of baby boomers who played with these toys as children and are now 25-to-50-year-old adults. Recommended.-- Frederick A. Schlipf, Urbana Free Lib. & Univ. of Illi nois GSLIS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-- The authors contend that there is no pop psychology or cultural implication intended in this catalog of American toys manufactured from 1957 to 1974. Students of social history will easily make their own conclusions, however, about the society that indulged its children with Slinky, G. I. Joe, Silly Putty, Monopoly, and Suzy Homemaker, and about the effect of advertising on toy consumers. Photos and ads of the many Baby Boomer toys are presented in attractive three-tone illustrations of blue, red, and yellow along with text that chronicles the history of the toy and its manufacturer. The cover itself is a toy with a battery that activates a whistle from G.I. Joe, a shot from Space patrol gun, and more. The index includes commercial and generic names of the toys, companies, manufacturers, television shows, and public personalities. A chatty annotated bibliography provides further resources for students of popular culture.-- Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.