Toyland: The High-Stakes Game of the Toy Industry

Sydney Ladensohn Stern, Author McGraw-Hill/Contemporary $19.55 (339p) ISBN 978-0-8092-4520-8
By the authors' reckoning, 80% of the toys introduced each year to the American market fail to capture a significant share of the industry's $12 billion revenues. This lively treatment of a volatile, competitive field, deeply dependent on seasonal fads and the whims of children and their parents, includes amusing anecdotes about manufacturers, distributors and maverick inventors. Jack Ryan, for one: an engineer with Mattel, he patented the Barbie doll's ``flexible interior knee joint,'' married five times--including Zsa Zsa Gabor--and rebuilt his California home to resemble a castle. All is not fun and games in the world of playthings, however; the authors sound a dark note when berating the alleged moral laxity of toy promoters. The hawkers of such perennial favorites as teddy bears, Barbie, video games and toys inspired by TV programs routinely fail, they contend, to consider the impact of these products' sexism and violence on children. Stern is a financial reporter; Schoenhaus is publisher of Toy & Hobby World . Photos not seen by PW . (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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