Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 11/11/02

A Book Review by Eric J Smith

Title: Whacky Toys, Whirligigs & Whatchamacallits

Rodney Frost

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.

387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 0-8069-9286-7
Price Softcover: $17.95
160 color pages

This is an interesting book on so many levels! It is a tribute to the author's ingenuity, it is an exercise in exercising your own mind, and it is just plain darn clever!! Mr. Frost brings us through a multitude of wind and hand powered devices that are designed to entertain young and old alike!

It is also a personal journey for Mr Frost explaining how his creations have helped him battle the black dog of depression. A much better way than Sir Winston Churchill's method!! (I.e. lever the cork out of a bottle of scotch and consume!)

It is illustrated wonderfully, and continually points out if the plans aren't working for you, modify them till they do! This strikes so close to my methods that it brought joy to my heart (small though it might be). Having said that the mechanisations that make these toys work seem so simple as Mr Frost explains them, but I have a funny feeling that they are not that easy, unless you have the same kind of mind, which I'm not sure I do!

I think the thing that most struck me about Mr. Frost's book was the details of the finished toys. The carving and joinery itself is very basic, it does the job. But the painting and decorating is beyond anything I could hope to emulate. They look like pieces from a time past, with liberal doses of today. In short they are really cool!

If you ever wanted to make a whirlygig or whatchamacallit, this book is a great way to start.

Eric J Smith

Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge in exchange for thoughtful, honest reviews. Thank You! And you can usually find their titles at a discount from Barnes And Noble

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