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YESTERDAY'S TOYS: Volume 1: Celluloid Dolls, Clowns and Animals; Volume 2: Planes, Trains, Boats and Cars Volume 3: Robots, Spaceships and Monsters by Teruhisa Kitahara (Chronicle Books: $14.95 each, illustrated)

December 24, 1989|CHARLES SOLOMON

A celebration of the mass-produced toys of the 1920s through the 1950s. Although the author is the proprietor of a toy museum in Japan and has a personal collection of more than 10,000 toys, he provides only minimal information about styles, trends and influences. Masashi Kudo's handsome photographs lovingly capture the rotund contours of celluloid Kewpie dolls, the finely detailed exteriors of tin automobiles and trucks and the kitsch excesses of miniature plastic movie monsters. The resulting volumes may appeal to hard-core collectors, but they hardly constitute a definitive study.

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