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Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
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Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
A fresh, intriguing look at the stories behind great toy inventions.

"Originally, Play-Doh only came in white. There's a good reason for this. You see, Play-Doh didn't start out as a toy. It started out as a product for cleaning wallpaper."

Have you ever wondered who invented Lego, Mr. Potato Head, or toy trains? Here are the fascinating stories behind these toy inventions a
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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Ms. Yingling
Feb 27, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
This was a tremendously fun title. Warning: Do not read this unless you can frequently tell the people in the room with you odd, random facts about toys. About every other page I felt compelled to say "Hey, did you know that Legos didn't come to the US until 1961?" or "Did you know that the Super Bowl was sort of named after the Super Ball?"

This is a great nonfiction title to have on hand. It is a topic with which children are familiar, and the prose is easy to read and immediately gripping ("Pl
Todd Coopee
Aug 19, 2016 Todd Coopee rated it really liked it
“Behind every toy there is a story”, writes Don Wulffson in the introduction to his book, Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions. He reinforces this notion over the next 144 pages with a witty and humorous take on more than two-dozen vignettes behind some classic and popular toy inventions.

Learn about the macabre use of the see-saw by the Romans, the original use for Play-Doh (spoiler alert: it was used for cleaning wallpaper), and the touching story behind why the Raggedy Ann doll h
Deborah White
Apr 14, 2015 Deborah White rated it really liked it
Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions is a gem of a book. This little book gives you interesting insight into a part of our lives that we take for granted - our toys. We trip over them, we dust them off when they are pulled out of the cabinet, we cherish the childhood memories surrounded around them, yet we do not know how they came to be, or almost didn’t! Toys! has some surprising answers to these questions and more. Toys! can not help but pique the interest of readers of all ages ...more
Jan 13, 2011 Deborah rated it really liked it
This book is a good example of informative writing with voice--and on topics students will really enjoy. It has good examples, especially of introductions to informative writing--and some good conclusions that circle around. Each chapter ends with some interesting facts that didn't make it into the chapter's focus--something students can learn about research: all the good stuff doesn't have to make it in the paper. It's amazing how many toys were accidents and how many toy inventors didn't give ...more
Mar 22, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
This is the type of nonfiction book for kids I like. It is organized in articles (chapters) that can be read as a whole book about toys or as articles about individual toys for interest or research. The reading level is high enough to challenge, but because it can be digested in articles, it is not that tough. And best of all, it is interesting, new information about topics must students know something about.
I want to use this book and books like it as classroom set reads to balance off the fi
Bill Sleeman
Jun 16, 2011 Bill Sleeman rated it it was ok

We picked this book out for our son but I ended up reading it first. A fun and informative diversion from the heavier stuff on my reading list. I had no idea that the "Slinky" was military technology! I will never watch it bounce down the stairs in the same way again. The extra illustrations by Laurie Keller are amusing and in the spirit of good fun (loved the “marshmallow man”) that permeates this book. Read it in an afternoon while sipping coffee – a good use of my time overall.
Sep 05, 2011 Marcia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: grades 3-6, nonfiction units
A fun look at how some of the most classic toys we grew up with came to be. Short, humorous chapters feature toys such as Mr. Potato Head, Silly Putty, Play Doh, G.I. Joe, and bicycles and how they were invented. Many were science lab creations--or mistakes---others evolved from ancient cultures. Additional facts at the end of each chapter and cute line drawings add to the enjoyment. A nice nonfiction choice for grades 3-6.
Mar 26, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like toys
Love this book so far. Its wacky how some cool toys came about. I think this book is a good book. I really think it is weird that playdough was used for cleaning wall paper.

I don't really play with toys anymore but I still think this book is cool because it kind of gives the whole idea that most things that we enjoy today were made by mistake and what would have happened if that mistake haden't been made?
Oct 06, 2010 Joanne rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The title is pretty self-explanatory; what adds to the stories is the illustrations, which are super cute. The stories themselves vary in interest, with tops to Play-Do and Raggedy Ann (which is a tearjerker) and ho-hum to pinball machines and toy soldiers.

I think it would be age-appropriate for about eleven year olds.
Jan 22, 2015 Gail rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for short informational passages that children (and adults!) will enjoy reading. Fun and interesting facts about many popular toys and games - both modern and classic. I would recommend this to teachers who are looking for good examples of informational text that are somewhat narrative. Could be a good mentor text for informational writing.
Abby Johnson
Jan 31, 2009 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
A very readable and interesting book about the history of your favorite toys from Slinkies to GI Joe to Raggedy Anne. Each entry includes information about the toy throughout history and its inventor(s) if they are known. This is a great book for browsing and will appeal to kids who like to read books with trivia and facts. Cute cartoon illustrations are done by the incomparable Laurie Keller.
Jeremiah Olushoga
Dec 01, 2014 Jeremiah Olushoga rated it really liked it
I read this book over summer because of school. This book has history behind toys. It shows the origin of them and other inserting things about toys. Some toys were made by accidents and some weren't and that made the book interesting to me. This book is very fascinating and interesting. I recommend this book to people who want to learn new things.
Interesting stories behind the most popular toys and games, both ancient and contemporary. Good read for the inquisitive child who loves obscure facts about everything. Trivial Pursuit is one of the games included in the anthology...

Booklegger, grades 5-6
Trent Mikesell
Feb 04, 2011 Trent Mikesell rated it liked it
I thought the stories about the different toys were really fun. I kept interrupting my wife's reading to tell her something else I had learned. I could see reading chapters from this if I had extra time at the end of class or something. I think my students would find some of it interesting.
Nov 01, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
(Fifth Grade Common Core book) This is a great nonfiction book for 5th graders. I read at least half of the stories aloud to my class, and they begged me to read more. It was very interesting how most of the toys started out as totally different things!
Nadine Ottoson
Jan 19, 2016 Nadine Ottoson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I had to read a non-fiction book for school due on 1/19/16 and was assigned on 11/23/15 . So I am a huge procrastinator and I waited until 3 days before the due date. I finished it easily and it was very interesting so I recommend this book.
Feb 26, 2015 B.P. rated it liked it
Some may think that I am reading junior non-fiction in an attempt to breeze through my 2015 reading challenge. It was not the main reason I selected this book, as I do enjoy enjoy reading about the design and history of toys. Not a bad read, informative and engaging.
Jennifer Chapman
Jan 17, 2013 Jennifer Chapman rated it liked it
Good trivia and well written - this would be best for a fifth or sixth grade student who is a trivia fanatic.
Great book for kids 10+ and I definitely recommend it for toy enthusiasts and anyone interested in everything.
Jun 26, 2016 Lupe rated it really liked it
A must for toy enthusiasts! I used this for a toy/game unit but I'm keeping it for my library collection. The author/illustrator interviews are interesting, too.
May 30, 2011 Jeanne rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Going to booktalk this to the kids in 5th and 6th grades. Did you know they used Slinkys as make-shift radio antennas in the Vietnam War? thought some guys would get into that.
Deborah Harris
Nov 30, 2013 Deborah Harris added it
Shelves: a10, ar-6
RL 5.0 GRL-U

AR Quiz No. 40671 EN Nonfiction
Accelerated Reader Quiz Information IL: MG - BL: 6.8 - AR Pts: 3.0
Accelerated Reader Quiz Type Information AR Quiz Types: RP
Cute, cheekily humorous (just as kids seem to like) and informative, albeit dated. Be prepared for supposedly-current references to VHS and stores that no longer exist.
Jan 02, 2014 Tracey rated it really liked it
This is a great book for kids and adults! It is so interesting to learn about the history and origins of toys! I recommend this to anyone who is a toy fan!
Laura Hall
Jun 24, 2015 Laura Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Read this with my daughter for a book report and we both were really interested in the fun facts and stories behind the toys.
Dec 09, 2014 Miri rated it really liked it
An interesting collection of stories about some of our favorite toys, slinkies, silly putty, play-doh and more!
Mrs. Phillips
Mrs. Phillips rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2015
Sherry Stack
Sherry Stack rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2014
Kim Asbell
Kim Asbell rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2016
Maddie Levey
Maddie Levey rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2014
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Don L. Wulffson is the author of more than forty books, including Point Blank, The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle, Future Fright, and The Upside-Down Ship. He lives in Northridge, California.
More about Don L. Wulffson...

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