A straightforward rundown of the toy industry's mainstay source of action figures, dolls, games, stuffed animals, and allied wares. According to Levy (a successful inventor) and Weingartner (a senior executive at Milton Bradley), US toy companies rely to a great extent on free-lance talent for the goods that have propelled their retail revenues to an annual level around $13 billion. Even for innovative independents, they warn, the business affords at best a rocky, uncertain road to riches. Before would-be toy-makers can hope to collect advances, let alone royalties, the authors note, they need a thorough understanding of an ultra-competitive marketplace noted for its unpredictability, production techniques, technology, and a host of allied factors. Those going it alone had also best be prepared to work on spec and cope with rejection, underwriting as well as peddling pet projects that will not be signature items if they ever reach store shelves. In this cautionary context, Levy and Weingartner offer a savvy, behind-the-scenes account of just how products are conceived, designed, sold, tested, manufactured, packaged, and merchandised not only to youngsters but also to their parents. The authors include a full measure of anecdotes on the origins of best sellers--Cabbage Patch Kids, Etch-A-Sketch, G.I. Joe, Play-Doh, Slinky, etc. In addition, they provide a detailed directory of the young-at-heart adults who make an often precarious living by creating playthings for children. More narrowly focused than Toyland, a general-interest overview by Sydney L. Stern and Ted Schoenhaus (p. 413), this should prove a standard reference for aspiring and practicing professionals.