3-2 | Classic Toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame: A Celebration of the Greatest Toys of All Time!

Book Review

Classic Toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame: A Celebration of the Greatest Toys of All Time!

Scott G. Eberle and Strong National Museum of Play
Philadelphia: Running Press, 2009. Contents, photographs. 264 pp. $29.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780762435654

by Howard P. Chudacoff

First Paragraph:

Scott Eberle has used a brilliant idea and enhanced it with a delightful and enlightening book that celebrates "the greatest toys of all time." The Strong in Rochester, New York, is the home of the National Toy Hall of Fame. Similar to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the toy hall of fame installs new nominees each year. Through 2008, there were forty-two inductees, and Eberle, the Strong's vice president for interpretation, has written a chapter on the origin, history, and effects of each one of them. Ever the historian rather than chronicler, Eberle says something about the cultural context in which each toy arose, pointing out, for example, how Barbie (inducted in 1998) and G.I. Joe (inducted in 2004) changed as gender politics changed over time and how Monopoly (in the hall since 1998) arose out of and in some ways as a relief from the Great Depression. Written in an engaging style—check out the clever subtitles for each chapter—Classic Toys also presents gems of historical analysis that will absorb serious scholars as well as general readers.