This is almost a fun book. It goes into the magic behind all the toys you've enjoyed personally or given to your kids or grandchildren. And, it will intrigue anybody who's ever wrangled with a Rubik’s Cube, hugged a Gund Bear or become rich speculating in Mattel shares way back when Barbie was a girl. But, after the fun part, the book hits you in the gut. There's a nasty side to the toy business and author Eric Clark lays it out clearly as he describes child laborers who make toys in Third World sweat shops, particularly in China and Mexico. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone who buys toys for children, or to those who want to know about child labor and address its abuses. With its illuminating examination of invention, manufacture and retailing in the toy industry, this is a valuable resource.
The Toy Biz: Research, Inventors, Novelty and Luck
Although they may seem trivial, toys are "the tools of the child at work." Of course, that is a classic definition since it stresses the positive psychological aspect of play. Most people in wealthy countries know that machine-made products have stolen much of the healthy creativity from child's play. The toy industry has worked to make kids "grow up'' faster so that they and their parents spend more time and money on games that require expensive gear or toys that demand more allied purchases. The toy industry's trick is to build the desire for fast, easy pleasure into consumers. The "hunger" parents and children feel for that new game, toy or experience guarantees greater toy sales next year and 10 years from now.
The agora for toys is the annual Toy Fair at the Javits Center in Manhattan. Although top companies hold their own shows to market their special new items, the century-old Toy Fair is an industry-wide event for toymakers and sellers. Typically, 1,500 exhibitors compete, hawking $2 items that will retail for $8, a $300 toy pony or a $1,000 electronic gizmo, camera included. The public is not invited to scour...