cover image Lunch Box

Lunch Box

Chronicle Books, Scott Bruce. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (119pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-535-2

Baby-boomers with nostalgia for their childhoods and trivia buffs might enjoy this detailed account of kiddie lunch boxes that is thoroughly illustrated with more than 100 color photographs. In his intermittently interesting text, Bruce, who edits the quarterly newsletter Hot Boxing , asserts that ``like the fascination with the big finned cars of the fifties, the appeal of lunch boxes was emotional. Between birth and the brown bag, you weren't what you drove but what you carried. Your net worth in the blackboard jungle was broadcast by that box dangling from your fingers.'' Most of the 120 million boxes sold between 1950 and 1970 were emblazoned with images from popular television shows, reproduction rights for which were obtained only after fierce negotiations. Commercial artists who designed boxes are lovingly profiled here, and an overview of the evolving technology of lunch-box construction is supplied for those who have always longed to know just when the phaseout of steel in favor of plastic was complete (1987). Collectors will appreciate an appendix that identifies boxes by name, date, maker, material, artist and relative value. (Dec.)