Children’s Book Giveaway: Too Many Toys.
December 07, 2010

After yesterday’s post (which, by the way, you are free to comment on telling me that I’m a nut) (it’s okay, even my own father thinks I’m a nut) (no, really, he does) I feel like this is probably a good time to mention that I am in love with David Shannon’s Too Many Toys.  I’m an unabashed fan of Shannon’s books, especially his humorous monster-child David series (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, get thee to a library PRONTO – the man didn’t win a Caldecott Honor for nothing)...but Too Many Toys, which is about a boy with an impossible number of toys and his mother who one day decides that it is high time he got rid of a few of them, is my favorite.

There are two reasons that I love this book.  First and foremost, parents and children alike relate to the story immediately.  Kids especially will love seeing a protagonist who rationalizes and behaves as they do.  And the end of the book is guaranteed to make any parent chuckle.  Secondly, the illustrations are fun.  They are bold and vibrant and whimsical.  It’s hard not to be drawn to them.

Since the book centers around a child with an excessive number of playthings, it is quite lot of fun to read with toddlers if only because they love the chaos and vivid colors of the illustrations.  The book is actually written so that early readers can enjoy it, but we don’t always stick to the sentences anyway.  One of my favorite ways to ‘read’ this book is to ask Charlotte what she sees.  Then I tell her a made-up story – complete with outrageous gestures and ridiculous noises – about whatever she points to: a rubber ducky, a set of paints, a matchbox car.  There are so many things to choose from that we never end up with the same story twice and we always have a lot of fun in the meantime.

I also appreciate the Shannon was able to tackle this topic without being too preachy or including a thinly veiled lesson.  Instead of lecturing the reader, he objectively (and humorously) relates the story of a boy with too many toys.  It’s simple and funny and cute.

Pros: The topic is clearly near and dear to my heart.  As well, it is a great starting point for conversations about everything from toys to consumption, from negotiation to creative play as seen on the last page.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy.  In all honesty, I can’t think of any Shannon books that don’t make good additions to a child’s library.  I told you: I’m an unabashed fan.

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail answering this: when you were little, how did your parents keep the toy chaos under control?  Or: if you are a parent now, how do you keep toys from taking over your home?  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Sunday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time and the winners will be announced next Tuesday morning.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to six entries.

To purchase this book: You can buy Too Many Toys through (that link uses my affiliate code) or locate a local retailer through Indie

Something else: I would like to apologize here and now to a few of you who have not yet received the book(s) you won.  I will be at the post office twice this week, so everybody should have their books soon.  If you haven’t received an e-mail from me, please don’t think I’m avoiding you.  Our Internet was down for a few days and we were out of town for awhile and we’ve had a few family obligations to tend to, so I’m just horribly behind.  You can usually count on me being horribly behind anyway, but the problem has reached epic proportions over the past week.

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  1. By Rachel on December 07, 2010

    I have a 3 1/2 month old so the toys aren’t too bad yet, but I make it a point to put away everything every night before we go to bed.  Then we can wake up to a clutter-free house every morning!

  2. By on December 07, 2010

    when i was little, i remember my room being quite tidy, but i’m afraid that was more thanks to my mom than to me. but i also remember, being a bit older, having to put away the toy i was done playing with before getting something else out.

    alice is still too young to put things away, but she loves to help me, putting books back on the shelf, blocks back in the bag and so on. i try to put her toys back in her room every evening and involve her in the process. Every toy has its place in her room, i find it makes it much easier to put away at night.

  3. By on December 07, 2010

    We followed the “one toy in, one toy out” philosophy pretty well growing up.  It’s true, I appreciated my toys more when I could actually see them, rather than having a jumble of so many toys!  Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. By on December 07, 2010

    We set up a college savings account for my son and have asked family to donate to that account in lieu of gifts or to just give one toy and donate to the account if they must buy a toy.  That worked well for my son’s first birthday, but I’m a bit worried about Christmas.  My mother-in-law emailed my husband last night saying she still had Christmas shopping to do and wanted to make one more toy shopping trip.  So, she’s separating Christmas and toy shopping, which has me alarmed!

  5. By on December 07, 2010

    It is a constant struggle.  I try to once a month weed out a couple toys that aren’t played with.  We have a playroom/family room that is where toys live so we try to keep them contained in that room…although I am constantly picking up a trail of stuff from behind my 13 month old - toys, shoes, clothes, books

  6. By on December 07, 2010

    We have baskets in the two rooms where Nora typically plays so we can collect all the toys easily.  She doesn’t really have too much at this point and when she gets gifts that we’re not too fond of or she’s not ready for, we store the toys in a box in the closet for a future date or so that we can donate it later.

  7. By on December 07, 2010

    As a first-time mom to a 5 (almost 6!) month old I’m sometimes finding myself being sucked into thinking he needs More Toys!  It’s a constant (mental) battle. I know I don’t want him to be over run with toys but I want him to have enough toys to ignite his imagination.  So right now the toy management is easy because I’m trying to be picky about the toys we buy him…a small toy box in the living room and two small baskets in his room are enough.  When he is older, though, I fear that all bets are off.

  8. By Alicia S. on December 07, 2010

    When we got rid of our son’s playroom after he turned one I was really worried about how we’d manage all of his toys with his bedroom not being very large. But not having that forces us to keep all of the kids’ belongings down to only what fits neatly into their bedrooms.

    We go through the whole house a few times a year and just fill bags with unnessasary things that could stand to be donated. It sounds like a chore, but you wouldn’t beleive how liberating it actually is. Me and my husband kind of make a day out of it and it’s always nice to find things to do with the extra space you end up getting out of it.

  9. By Renee F on December 07, 2010

    I have a basket that my 6 yr old has gotten into the routine of putting his toys in at the end of the day when we are heading upstairs for bed.  He puts the stuff in it and I carry it up to his room.  The next day we do it again. I am hoping this will stop before he goes away to college.

  10. By on December 07, 2010

    I honestly don’t remember how my mother kept my toys in order and not having kids yet, I can only speak on how I envision keeping the toy chaos under control will go - and that is, it won’t! just kidding. i’m a basket person - love baskets. so I’ll probably use baskets or trunks of some sort to house toys. I also have friends who do the method of keeping toys out of sight and swapping out every few months so the child doesn’t get bored with the same toys. I like that idea too. And the weeding out of toys not used and donating are a great idea too!

  11. By Stephanie @ Confessions of a Trophy Wife on December 07, 2010

    I’d love to win this!

    My son is only 9 1/2 months old so we don’t currently have a lot of toys.  I’m *hoping* to keep the toy situation under control from the get go and not have too many of them because we have a small house and I have no where to put a ton of toys!

  12. By on December 07, 2010

    we use baskets and shoe boxes and whatever receptacles the are handy. we don’t have too much for our 16 month old - but the blocks can get out of control.  he’s very into a soccer ball and tupperware lids, so that keeps things fairly under control!
    i didn’t have a whole lot of toys growing up - we sort of “found” toys or made them or went to my friend’s house who had boat loads! i honestly never missed them.

  13. By Katy @ Wiggle Wagon on December 07, 2010

    I’m not sure how my parents did it, but I don’t remember ever having a surplus of toys as a child.  I do remember them telling me that if I didn’t pick up my toys they would take all the ones that weren’t put away and throw them out.  That might have something to do with it.
    Now that I have a wee one, and I also nanny, I give the kids one or two toys at a time, until they get tired of them.  When that happens, I take it away and find one more.  my house is never over-run with toys because most of them are usually put away.

  14. By on December 07, 2010

    I keep the toys under control by having a few out at a time and others packed away in the closet in baskets.  My son mostly wants to play with things like nutella plastic jjars, sippy cup lids and coasters anyway!

  15. By on December 08, 2010

    Once again, it’s like you picked this particular post right out of my brain. I was ALWAYS a huge fan of Christmas, presents, shopping, decorations, etc. etc. etc. Then around the time we decided to pay for our own wedding… get a bigger house… have a baby… quit my job… things got tight and I got scroogy. Now, even though I we have room in the budget for shopping, I don’t want any part of it! Last year’s christmas (one truck and one book) was the perfect amount “wake up and open presents”.

    But to answer the real question:
    We did what I thought I would never do. We “built” a toy room. We have a “family” room and a “living” room in our house. One was empty because we just never bought furniture for it. Then one day I decided I was tired of picking up little toys all around the living room and we turned the empty room into a toy room. on one wall we built a storage unit with five over-sized baskets to sort toys into. While it in no way reduces the number of toys we have, it helps to keep them all in one central location.

  16. By on December 08, 2010

    I grew up on a dairy so every year before christmas and birthday we had to pack up any toys that we hadn’t played with recently or that my mom deemed to be to young for us, etc, and take them to the milk barn.  The milkers always divided them up to take home for their own younger kids.  Taught me lessons about donating and how not everyone was as fortunate as we were.

  17. By Michelle on December 08, 2010

    We’re keeping Lane’s toys under control by simply not buying her much.  We live internationally and move a lot (5 places in my daughter’s 10 months of life) so we don’t want a lot.  All of her books and toys can fit in a 1x1x2 foot box.  Plus we gave the grandparents limits for Christmas. :-)

  18. By Janelle on December 08, 2010

    Nearly all our toys are stored in our den. With two kids, both boy and girl, we have experienced a toy explosion.  We don’t always keep all the toys out at once, storing some to bring out when they tire of the others.  We also sell some at garage sales each year and send some to our local thrift shop.

  19. By Las Vegas Bankruptcy Lawyer on December 09, 2010

    As a children’s book writer (hopeful)..I wish I had come up with this idea. Too many toys! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. Every day I’m wondering what too do with all of my daughters stuffed animals.  Maybe that’s an idea for another story. We are always looking for great books and great authors and I think the key for us is a book with vibrant illustrations so I appreciate you pointing that out.

  20. By on December 09, 2010

    Hi Sarah - One way my parents kept the toy chaos under control - and I do the same thing - is by “outlawing” Barbies (well as much as possible)!

  21. By angie on December 10, 2010

    I rotated the toys that way they never got bored of them and they knew if they were not cleaned up they disappeared

  22. By on December 10, 2010

    All of my and my brother’s toys were put into baskets and whatever was not played with was given away. I would love this book because I love his book A Bad Case of Stripes.

  23. By on December 10, 2010

    My parents has a large woven basket in our living room for all of our “dress up” gear.  I think a dress-up box is one of the best “toys” a kid could have, and it’s so easy to clean up since everything just gets dumped inside and most of the items are soft/cloth.  I plan to have the same sort of thing for my own kids eventually.

  24. By on December 11, 2010

    We keep the toys under control by not buying any, though we do love to indulge on children’s books.  My husband and I are fortunate to still have some of our own toys from our own childhoods to pass onto our kids.  And, of course, others give us toys ... no way to stop that!  But I pretty much never have the urge to buy a toy!

  25. By on December 11, 2010

    My kids do have lots of toys (thanks grandparents) but we have lots of storage cubbies.  We have lots of guests over with little kids so the toys get shared frequently with others which is one redeeming quality of having so many.  We steer away from junky plastic things which constantly need batteries and instead focus on wooden blocks, puzzles, play food, balls etc…

  26. By on December 12, 2010

    First off, question for you!  How do you keep you large collection of children’s books under control?  Do you have sufficient shelf space?  Do you keep all the books out at once, or just the ones that are most age-appropriate?  I’m really looking for advice! 

    Now, on to your question ...
    My tip for today for keeping toys under control, is, if your child is really coveting a certain toy, then provide a home-made replica of that toy.  Your child might even get involved in the project of making it.  I had a home-made cabbage patch kid when I was little, never a real one.  If I’d had the “real” cabbage patch doll, I would have probably wanted all the doo-dads that went along with it.  But instead I ended up feeling special because mine was the only one made by hand.  Also, check out this neat idea for making a play kitchen from cardboard boxes:

  27. By on December 12, 2010

    We had a big basket that we put the toys in and if you get a toy out put the other toy up before you get another one.





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