2016-09-28 / Features

Yesterday’s Toys


“Lovely Toys of Long Ago, An ABC Book,” written and illustrated by Elizabeth Uhlig (Marble House Editions, paperback, 48 pages, $12.95). “Lovely Toys of Long Ago, An ABC Book,” written and illustrated by Elizabeth Uhlig (Marble House Editions, paperback, 48 pages, $12.95). “Lovely Toys of Long Ago, An ABC Book,” written and illustrated by Elizabeth Uhlig is a nostalgic and charmingly illustrated children’s book accompanied by simple, yet insightful poems, descriptive comments on the toys with rhymes sure to please young ears and amusing to the adult reading aloud. The jacket says for ages 5-10, but it is interesting for all ages – a quality sure to be appreciated by parents and guardians.

It is an ABC book with an interesting angle – not simply stringing objects together, but leading the reader on “a trip through time and see what a child’s world might have looked like many years ago,” as the back cover aptly explains. And time can be taken with each letter of the alphabet, maybe accompanied by a little chat.

Author/illustrator Elizabeth Uhlig has created the pictures for this book, combining paint, cloth, and paper collage. She is the author/illustrator of numerous books for readers of all ages. The illustrations are beautifully done, with skillfull watercolors and evocative antique materials for the collages.

The colorful, unique art, and short yet observant and clever rhymes contrast childhood now with long ago, perhaps going back as far as a great-grandparent’s time. The book is analogous to the childhood of the world, compared to now, with its simple pleasures, simple professions; it is horizon-expanding for children to see how the world used to be, from a child’s perspective – a foundation explaining the world before technology, paving the way for an appreciation of human ingenuity and history.

Some of the toys are eternal, such as dolls, puppets, tea and kitchen sets, the merry-go-round, puzzles, stuffed animals; but the car and ice cream truck reflect the styling and logos of the 1950s and ‘60s, and the firetruck and dollhouse are even earlier in the past century (a revelation to the 1950s child). Some provide even more contrast, from a time when kids were not as jaded as they perhaps are nowadays, in our fast-paced, electronic, disposable culture (do they still make yo-yo’s?). There are unique things to hold in one’s hand that capture the imagination, like the snow globe; or toys that were once top favorites are now a curiosity, but would doubtless be loved if around today, especially playthings that involve some activity – how quaint!

The wonderment of foreign lands, inspired by souvenirs, were perhaps especially intriguing in those pre-internet times, when one would not have such ready access to these things.

Uhlig understands children very well, affirming as she does a child’s own sensibilities, including a saved box of odds and ends treasured by the young owner – perhaps saving things is another quaint notion! At the end she even encourages her young audience to express themselves with a drawing and description of a favorite toy of their own.

For an autographed copy, you can mail $13.00 + $3.00 postage to:

Marble House Editions
96-09 66th Avenue, Suite 1D
Rego Park, New York 11374

Or you can phone 718-896-4186, or email Elizabeth.Uhlig@yahoo.com.

(Marble House Editions, paperback, 48 pages, $12.95)

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