Out of the Garden: Toys and Children's Culture in the Age of TV Marketing


406 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920059-65-1
DDC 302.23'45'083





Reviewed by Christine Linge

Christine Linge is a Toronto-based freelance writer.


This scholarly volume details the history of marketing to children, the
development of children’s play culture, and the inner workings of the
billion-dollar marketing industry devoted to children’s toy sales. It
especially investigates the impact of TV advertising in an age when many
children spend more time watching TV than at school.

In this in-depth exploration, chapters can have up to 50 footnote
references. A 28-page thematic bibliography, an index, and several
photographic illustrations accompany the text. While the reading can be
heavy going for someone unschooled in sociology, Kline’s history of
children’s culture and his alarming revelations about the power and
extent of the toy and advertising industries would interest those
concerned about the effects of mass culture on children.

As hinted by the negative connotations of the title, Kline takes a dark
view of recent trends in TV programs and advertising. While his warnings
about the power of these industries are well founded, Kline’s opinion
of the contents of the shows is overwhelmingly negative, with scant
reference to their positive contributions (such as the emergence of
strong female leads and the creative efforts of the writers and
artists). Although Kline does not take into account the advances in TV
content in the 1990s, his findings about advertisers’ control and use
of animated series deserve continued investigation by social scientists
and motivated parents alike.

Out of the Garden is a thoroughly documented investigation of a
disturbing and powerful force in the lives of today’s children, and an
enlightening tool for the critical examination of modern advertising.


Kline, Stephen,, “Out of the Garden: Toys and Children's Culture in the Age of TV Marketing,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6811.