3-2 | Toying with God: The World of Religious Games and Dolls

Book Review

Toying with God: The World of Religious Games and Dolls

Nikki Bado-Fralick and Rebecca Sachs Norris
Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010. Bibliography, notes, images, photographs, index. 232 pp. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 9781602581814

by Megan A. Norcia

First Paragraph:

In this engaging, interesting, and lively text, the authors introduce readers to a world of toys and games that include Monopoly imitators (Mormonopoly, Catholicopoly, etc.) as well as Christian games with unsettling colonialist overtones (Missionary Conquest, Settlers of Canaan), and games representing Judaism, Islam, and Eastern religions (Race to the Kabah, Mecca to Medina, Exodus, Kosherland, Karma Chakra, BuddhaWheel, and Mahabharata Game). As these examples show, the work cites wide-ranging examples of toys from African religions to syncretic Brazilian women's Catholicism to Wicca. It notes sports from Aztec ball to the Greek olympics to Native American lacrosse, each with its associated religious roots. It surveys various religious products including Hindu finger puppets; bobble-headed Jesus, pope and Buddha dolls; punching rabbi dolls; Nunzillas wind-up toys; Easter-lily hand and body cream; and Last Supper lunch boxes, card games, and testaments. The book focuses chiefly on the "shifting boundaries and restructured relationships among religion, play, work, commerce, toys, and ritual" (p. xv).