A book of toys

A Book of Toys by Gwen White
This is my ideal book really. It’s a King Penguin book – a superlative set of illustrated books from around the 1940s of just exactly the right size. The book is about toys. I really like toys. The toys are all from museum collections. I also like museums. The book weaves illustrations of the toys in with hand drawn type telling their stories, across the pages, walking them from one chapter into the next, literally and illustratively. At the back it tells you which museum the toys live in. Add a cracking cover and, well, there it is.

A spread from A Book of Toys by Gwen White



The King Penguin series has some real winners doesn’t it? I have an urge which I am fighting to start a small and select collection of these to go with my Picture Puffins

I’m strongly supported in this struggle by OH who thinks I have too many things already.

I particularly like the look of the ones on fungi

I bought a friend a copy of Popular Art in Britain the other year for a friend’s Christmas present and I’ve been regretting giving it to him since!

shelf appeal

Hmm, I can’t say I wish you luck in your struggle. Get on collecting them and admit defeat, I say. Remember the Popular Art book regret..


I have a little collection of these king penguins and this one is probably my favourite, such a great cover and fab subject matter – I’m a fan of toys too!

shelf appeal

Constantly trying to decide how little a collection constitutes a ‘collection’ here on Shelf Appeal. 2, 3, more?


This is my favourite King Penguin cover also. It was re-worked recently for one of their special ‘ideas’ paperbacks series. I think it was for a George Orwell book, and the penguins were replaced by toads and done in a different colourway (the rest of the series had some fantastic covers too).


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