This Time it’s Toys; My Top 10 List of Stories and Movies That Feature Toys

Last week I published My Top 10 List of Books, Poems and Film that Feature Games.  In other words, books that used a game play or game play as an essential element in moving the plot forward.

In this posting, I want to focus on toys.  As with games, I found that there are a number of books that use toys as an essential plot element.  Here they are listed them in alphabetical order:

A Christmas StoryJean Shepard

This wonderful movie, based upon the short stories of Jean Shepard, tells the story of Ralphie Parker and his hot pursuit of a Red Ryder Bee Bee gun.  All of us can identify with Ralphie’s lust for the forbidden and the comedy that ensues in the movie is both hilarious and warm. 

Citizen KaneOrson Welles

Considered by most critics and fans to be the greatest movie ever made, the story uses a sled named Rosebud as the core of a mystery that reveals only at movie’s end. 

PinocchioCarlo Collodio

Thanks to the Walt Disney Company, we are all very aware of the puppet that is turned into a boy.  The book, written in the 1880’s is, however, a much darker tale.  Yes, there is a cricket with a conscience but Pinocchio kills him pretty early in the story. 

The Great SantiniPat Conroy

The Great Santini uses a basketball game between an overbearing father and his coming of age son to tell the story of life in a Marine family which the father runs like a military unit. 

The last MimzyLewis Padgett

You may have seen the movie but better to read this very clever and a little unnerving science fiction story.  The books tell the story of two young children who happen upon a box of toys from the future.  They turn out to be educational toys and the results that follow are fascinating.

The_NightingaleThe NightingaleHans Christian Andersen

Written by the famed Danish story teller, the Nightingale tells the story of a Chinese Emperor who prefers the music of a bejeweled mechanical bird to a real one.  Eventually the mechanical bird breaks and it is only the music of a real Nightingale that brings him back to life.

The NutcrackerE.T.A. Hoffman and Pyotr Ilyich Tshaikovsky

Everyone is familiar with the ballet by Tchaikovsky but not as many have read the story by E.T.A. Hoffman upon which it was written.   The Hoffman story, called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, is set around a mechanical castle, its inhabitants and a nutcracker that come to life.  The ensuing battle between dolls and mice makes for great fantasy and an enduring story.

The Red Balloon Albert Lamorisse

This short film uses almost no dialogue to tell the wonderful story of a sentient balloon with a “mind of its own.”

1165565432_originalThe Toys of PeaceSaki

Saki, the great early 20th century short story writer, gives us a story about a mother who insists that her children only be given “toys of peace.” 

Winnie the PoohA.A. Milne

Everyone knows the story of the little boy and his teddy bear.  Now morphed into a merchandising empire, Winnie the Pooh and his friends have had numerous adventurers of which the author, A. A. Milne, never dreamed.

That’s my list.  What’s on yours?

4 thoughts

  1. Please correct:
    be able to speak, the doll saying “Mama” was the second biggest surprise of th emovie
    to the movie
    and “aha” in the far in the future ending.
    to “aha” in the, “farther in the future” ending.

  2. In Aliens, a movie filed with role reversal, Newt is the pragmatic surviving youngster, while the adults fears and greed derails the attempts to survive/ be rescued:
    Ripley: [referring to the doll] Look, no bad dreams there.
    Newt: Ripley, she doesn’t have bad dreams because she’s just a piece of plastic.
    Planet of the Apes: A human doll is discovered in an archaeological dig where humans shouldn’t be able to speak, the doll saying “Mama” was the second biggest surprise of th emovie.
    Spielberg’s Pinocchio retold story AI, Haley Joel Osmett is excellent as the “Android Pinocchio” but in the end it is the robotic Teddy bear who pulls a major “aha” in the far in the future ending.
    -Martin Uniacke-
    Toy Expert
    Sales Dingo

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