Photo by Richard Snodgrass
Childish Things, like Richard Snodgrass’s critically acclaimed Kitchen Things (called a book “to admire” by the New York Timesand one of the “best books to get you thinking about food” by the Associated Press), celebrates the objects of our past, opening our minds and hearts to the unique innocence and bittersweet memories of childhood. Who among us did not have a special something—a talisman, a much loved and worried-over lodestar—to help us navigate the hills and valleys of youth? In a masterly marriage of words and photographs, Snodgrass calls forth the genius of these objects in a startling way, opening our eyes not just to the worn surfaces but also to the special power within them.
Fans of vintage objects and midcentury nostalgia will recognize the stuffed animals, dolls, mechanical instruments, trucks and tanks, alphabet blocks, and built environments that populated the playrooms of generations of children. And, like Kitchen Things, Childish Things pairs each image with a narrative, a story about the genesis of the image as well as the significance and utility of the subject. Snodgrass’s wife, Marty, again plays the role of inquisitive and sometimes skeptical questioner, teaching us that most objects will reveal their stories if we approach them with patience and a curious eye.
Finally, Childish Things contains a just-for-fun practical element in a special center section: instructions for old-fashioned games that can be enjoyed by the entire family. In the days before smartphones, we amused ourselves—and sharpened our minds—with parlor games, word games, and simple rhyming games that made us wonder, “Where did the time go?” Childish Things lets us relive those moments, evoking the wonder and enchantment of a time out of mind.Read an Excerpt