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Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of…

Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood

by Gary Cross

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0674898303, Hardcover)

Let the reader beware: after perusing Kids' Stuff, you'll never again be able to cruise the aisles of Toys "R" Us with an untroubled soul. In this history of toys, author Gary Cross relates a joyless world of useless plastic objects and manipulative advertising aimed at children. He begins with a discussion of how the concept of toys has changed since the 19th century, positing that toys are a prime example of a consumer economy run amok. What started out as the manufacture of toys meant to function as educational tools (i.e., building blocks, Legos, etc.) has metamorphosed into Barbies, Power Ranger action figures, and the latest knockoffs from Disney-animated films. What's worse, Cross says, is that parents have virtually been removed from the equation as toy manufacturers first decide what kind of toys to make and then market them directly to children via Saturday-morning cartoons and the backs of cereal boxes. Kids' Stuff is a grim look at the world of childhood and the manufactured fantasies that fuel it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:38 -0400)

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles upon a sinister adventure when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous, or both. Ages 9+… (more)

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