WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Traditional Wood Toys

Traditional Wood Toys
by Cyril Hobbins

Linden Publishing: 2007
Paperback, 180 pp., $24.95
ISBN 1-933502-10-X

     Are there ever enough toys in the world? There are certainly too many sold as fads that no one will ever hear of again after a marketing campaign is dropped. Mr. Hobbins is a collector of classic toys, and a consultant to schools and museums. He has produced nice watercolor paintings to illustrate folk toys of lasting appeal from all over the world. He offers no plans or exploded diagrams, but these are simple enough that we shouldn't need any. They have no batteries and no electric noises, but they are the ones fostering lots of giggles and activity. If you have children to help you make them, they would be even more valuable.
     Pop guns, bridges for shooting marbles, stick horses, optical toys, WWII Jeeps cut individually from long machine profiles of molding, climbing acrobats, pecking chickens, articulated wooden snakes, scissor toys, balancing toys, windmills and whirlygigs...the list goes on and on. One chapter on rubber band power shows airplanes, rubber band guns, flat frogs leaping from twisted popsicle sticks, and a clever exploding target to use with a marble game.
     Mr. Hobbins writes an entertaining history with each illustration, and includes a long bibliography of additional sources, plus a short photo gallery of toys. He tells where each toy originated and how it has developed. Most are extremely simple and some are good lessons in physics. This is a very well done toy book, which just proves the old adage that simple is usually best.

. . . Barb Siddiqui