Wednesday, June 10, 2009

a review of Timeless Toys

Timeless Toys- Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them by Tim Walsh (Andrews McMeel Publishing, ISBN 0-7407-5571-4)

“Welcome to a celebration of classic playthings and a tribute to the people who brought them to life. Timeless Toys is a toy trip of epic proportions and a delightful look back at many childhood favorites.”

I love toys. Not the cheap, silly ones you will so often find in the mega toys stores of today, things to be played with for a few minutes before they break or the player looses interest. No, dig a little deeper, maybe search the bottom shelf and you may be lucky enough to find a few of these classics that Mr. Walsh documents in this delightful coffee table book and hours...years...of fun will be guaranteed.

I will admit it. I have a Mr. Potato Head. In fact I have two sets, the regular and a special Disney edition. I have a Slinky...I have the same Etch-A-Sketch that I played with as a wee caite. I have a Jenga set, minus on wooden block my now departed doggie Maggie ate and a couple of Pez dispensers in a drawer somewhere. I still love the smell and the sight of the lovely neat rows of a brand new set of Crayola crayons (I have a tee shirt from the tour of their 'factory' in Easton PA) and we will not discuss the Silly Putty incident from when my niece was a wee one herself. But let me just say, I did NOT tell her to put it on the keys of the TV remote! Neither will we count the number of teddy bears that reside in a few hidden corners of my house...but I will state that nothing beats the classic Steiff bears.

Mr. Walsh has chosen 75 classic toys and games from 1900 up to the 1990's and given us a behind the scene look at them. Who invented them, changes made in them over the years, how they were marketed. Do you know the real story behind the invention of the Frisbee? Well, if not, this book will let you in on it.
In picking the toys, they had to have sold at least 10 million pieces, been on the market at least 10 years, been invented by an identifiable person outside of a major toy company...and have had significance to Tim and his Many of the back stories are fascinating and the photographs are excellent. I certainly could not produce anything like them but I will treat you to a few quick snaps of a couple of my treasures, all of which are featured in this book, as are all the ones I admit to still owning.

As I said, if you look around your local toys store, you will still find a number of the toys from this book available, because they are still being produced and still for sale, as much fun today as they were decades ago. Lionel trains, which debuted in 1901, still delight many a child...both young and old ones. Crayolas from 1903, Lincoln Logs and Radio Flyer wagons from about 1920's, Candy Land, Clue and Monopoly from the 1930's are still very popular and I think always will be. What I found so interesting was how many of these toys that were invented decades ago are toys that kids still ask for today...because they are fun! And learning more about them is fun too!

If any of those items make you think back to your youth, Timeless Toys will be a book that you will enjoy. I doubt anyone could open this book and see some of the great photographs and read some of the great stories behind the fun toys they spent hours with and not smile and you will smile for hours as you page through this book.

Many thanks to the great review of this book at Find Your Next Book Here that forced me to buy a copy.

Available From Amazon


  1. This book sounds fascinating! I love toys. And I'm with you, the smell of crayons is really nice to me. I sometimes still have a desire to draw with them and I also paid a visit to the Crayola factory in PA.

  2. I think I probably had 90% of these classics toys when I was young! They just don't make toys like they used to! It makes me very nostalgic to see all of these again!

  3. meghan, I think I was the only adult there without a

  4. I'm so happy you got this book based on my write-up! Isn't it the best? I just love it! And my son loves it. It really makes you realize that a good toy will stand the test of time. And the stories behind the toys are so interesting. And the photos ... I love seeing how they change over the years. You just made my day!!!!!

    Hope your vacation is going along great!

  5. We I thank you for leading me too is a delightful book. But then I am fond of these classic toys!


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