Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

KIDS' STUFF

Posted on

Christmas as we know it was born in the 1880s, when the industrial age spawned a toy industry that has mirrored society’s changing ideas about childhood. Gary Cross’s Kids’ Stuff, a social history of toy design, smartly covers everything from pre-Depression model trains to baby dolls that prepared children for adulthood to action figures of the ’80s. Between toy companies bent on infiltrating rather than stimulating children’s imaginations and guilt-ridden working parents who can’t say no, we live in a time, says Cross, when gift giving is defined more by quantity than meaning. This is one toy story that will make you think twice about what goes under the tree next year. A