Fantastic Toys by Monika Beisner / ISBN 9781681373119 / 24-page hardcover, about 10.8 x 10.8 inches, from The New York Review Children’s Collection
Fantastic Toys is a dream catalog of eleven marvelous inventions, magical toys that would make the world far more interesting, if only they existed. Here are inventions based on fantasy, like winged jumping boots that let you leap so high you startle the birds; inventions to assuage fears, like a glowing teddy bear; inventions to improve upon boring tasks or gloomy weather, like child-size bath-foam animals and animal umbrellas; and even educational inventions, like the treasure-hunt letter maze. Best of all are the inventions just for fun: the skipping machine that should be in every playground and the sheep toboggan (real sheep not included) that takes sledding to a whole new level. In a perfect mimicry of marketing, each toy is advertised with an earnest, compelling description and a detailed hand-drawn illustration of happy children demonstrating the fun that can be had. Fantastic Toys is a book not only for reading but for marveling, inventing, and building. Who knows what other fantastic toys are just waiting to be invented?
"A book I read over and over again as a child. Four years ago, I discovered the reason we had that magical book—my mother had gone to elementary school with Monika. For me, it was as if she’d gone to school with Marilyn Monroe and never mentioned it."--Matthea Harvey, The Paris Review Daily
Monika Beisner is a German illustrator and artist. She studied painting in Braunschweig and Berlin, and continued her studies in New York and London. She is best known for her children’s books The Heavenly Zoo and Fabulous Beasts, and has also illustrated Dante’s Divine Comedy and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She lives in London; Ratzeburg, Germany; and on Gozo, Malta.