Interviews with Dr. Toy


Chat Room Appearance Dec 16, 1999  NEW!
Cyber Radio July 21, 1999  NEW!
Behind the Toy Story  May 1999 
ABC Interview   March 24, 1999
Amazon Books March 1998
StorkZine August 11, 1997

Interview by Cyber Radio with Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, PhD. - 'Dr.Toy'

Cyber Radio:  Oh Cyberfans this is friendly Pinetree and Tommatsu. Youre listening to Cyberradio CYBERRADIO.COM. We hope youre enjoying your day out there in the Cyberverse. This is net value, our consumer reports kind of show where were doing a lot of fun things and speaking of fun - it doesnt get more fun than toys.

We are very proud and very honored to have Dr. Toy, Stevanne Auerbach on the line. Good morning.

Dr. Auerbach:  Good morning!

Cyber Radio: And thank you for joining us today.

Dr. Auerbach: Oh, its a pleasure. Im delighted. What could be more fun than talking about toys. (in response to technical difficulty in studio) When you play youve got to be spontaneous. Youve got to be ready to do anything at any time, thats part of playing.

Cyber Radio: Were nothing if not spontaneous.

Dr. Auerbach: Exactly.

Cyber Radio: Were definitely spontaneous.

Dr. Auerbach: Thats what play is all about.

Cyber Radio: How are you this morning?

Dr. Auerbach: Im great. Im in San Francisco.T he skys a little gray, but were having fun.

Cyber Radio: We are having an adventure. Tell us a little bit about your background, and particularly how you became involved with toys, and how they relate to children and their development.

Dr. Auerbach: Ive always been interested in toys. I have a background in education and psychology and child development. Ive always observed children playing. How adults play with children is very important. This is important for parents, grandparents, and others and how they interact with children. About 30 years ago I started evaluating toys and Ive been doing it every since. Our work gives us a great opportunity to help parents find good products. We were the first on the Internet to have a web site on If anyones listening who has an interest in toys and has not looked at our website I invite you to come and visit.

Cyber Radio: You talked about not only children playing, but how adults play with children. What are some different ways that adults interact with children? Do fathers interacts with kids differently than mothers do?

Dr. Auerbach: Absolutely. Children need to play alone and they need to play with their friends, with Mom, with Dad, with brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and so on - Each person interacts with the child in different ways. Children learn to play as they interact with each person. That is PQ - the Play Quotient, the ability to play alone, with others and to use your imagination, be spontaneous and to have fun. You know one of the greatest things parents can do is read to their children every day. Certainly introducing them to the computer and to the world of the Internet is all part of play. Theres so much that children can learn through play.

The book I wrote, Dr. Toys Smart Play guides parents to play with their children and help to increase their childs PQ. If you look at our website you will find in Ask DR. Toy a wide range of questions about play that we are trying to answer. Also theres more about Dr. Toy. More about the book. Our site has my evaluations of more than a thousand toys and childrens products from low tech to high tech, and that involve all kinds of ways that parents can play with their children. These items include games, puzzles, books, arts and crafts, dolls, software and interactive products.

We include a whole range of products that are fun - and help children learn. Thats the important aspect of what we do. We try to help parents and teachers find products that help children gain skills. They cover the whole range of everything children are interested in from baby to age 12 and beyond.

Cyber Radio: Now let me ask you about PQ and Play Quotient, I guess thats something that you developed on your own. Have you found any relationship to a childs PQ and a childs IQ.

Dr. Auerbach: Yes, but its different. The ability to play is really very much related to the childs spontaneity. You dont have to be a gifted child or a genius to have fun playing so in that sense its not exactly the same. The ability to play -its like a diverse garden-- look at all the different ways children learn and all the different skills.

Some children learn through sounds, some children learn through doing with their hands, some children learn through repeated practice.Theres lots of different ways children can play. The ability to play, the ability to say, make up stories, is not necessarily because youre gifted , or because you have a high IQ. Its because you have more opportunity to use toys.

Do your parents encourage you to play with puppet? Play strategy games? The more you play, the more playful you are. This is true for adults too. So many of us who are at the computer so much, we need more time to play-We all need to get away from the computer, to have fun, relax and enjoy ourselves. I hope people will remember this is important-- playing is not just for children, its for all of us.

Cyber Radio: Now let me ask you something else about kids and the way they play. I think most of us realize that boys and girls play differently once they get to a certain age but what about when theyre very small and toddlers? Have you noticed any differences in the way like a boy toddler plays versus the way a girl toddler would play.

Dr. Auerbach: Yes, children do vary, very early. There are differences. They have different proclivities towards certain products that theyre more interested in. But boys and girls when theyre very young enjoy nurturing experiences. They will play with dolls and with housekeeping products and be equally interested. Maybe a little bit later on they get more interested in separateness. Boys tend to be a little more aggressive than girls do when theyre playing. Girls are oriented towards language, using dolls and pretend activities that are nurturing. You can observe differences.

Cyber Radio: Do you feel the influences of boys and girls toys like, lets say the old GI Joe type figures versus the Barbie figures, does that start separating the thought processes - Oh, this is a guy type of thing, Oh, this is a girl type of thing.

Dr. Auerbach: Its dependent on what parents introduce to their the children. Little boys need to play with Teddy bears and nurture baby dolls as well, especially if theyre going to have a younger brother or sister. Its a very good way to relate to a baby by holding a baby doll. But as they get older they start to make choices. They relate to different kinds of toys and start to play a little bit differently. You notice these changes around 4. This is related to going to preschool and nursery school. Children affect each other. In preschool programs they very often begin to learn about other ways to play, new ways to play. Its very important for them to get experiences and exposure to all kinds of toys.

Cyber Radio: What would you say to a parent who particularly may have a son whos like, Yeah, I dont know if I want my son playing with dolls or Teddy bears.

Dr. Auerbach: Very young child, like a toddler or preschoolers need nurturing just as much. They need to be able to have a doll, or a Teddy bear to relate to. In fact GI Joe was really the first boys doll, a very patriotic item to play with after World War II. In fact, my next book, Toys for a Lifetime, includes GI Joe and Barbie and about 60 other classics like Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch and Colorforms. All kinds of products that have been in our repertoire in America over many years. Toys reflect our society. You can see a lot of changes that have gone on in toys. Today theres more high-tech toys than ever before. Boys and girls need a great variety of experiences, not to separate them.

Cyber Radio: What are your feelings about the high-tech toys, particularly the, like the video games that are so popular with like the Sony Play Station and Nintendo 64. Do those type of toys, do you see any sort of, I dont know, developmental or educational value to them.

Dr. Auerbach: Well, it depends on the subject matter. Ive been looking at these products from the earliest PacMan to all of the latest developments. Im very much concerned about the extent to which so many of these video games have so much violence in the subject matter. I dont feel this is in the best interest of childrens development. It is not valuable to have gratuitous violence.products. Children need to learn about flying, how to build, how things work, the inside of engines -Many of these games could help them. They need to think, grow, develop and gain skills.

So much of this technology needs to be focused at what our society can benefit from. I cant really reconcile the whole notion of more violence even if its more technical. I think we really need to look at the subject matter.

I  look for products that help children develop skills that will help them in their future. I mean theres so many issues that would be so interesting for children to learn about that could be dealt with in the high-tech way. I think thats the challenge for the designers to use this technology in ways to really help them.

A software product I evaluated by Panasonic called Make A Map. Used video games type technology to help children understand geography. Your child could drive around the community and find directions. Technology was used in a really creative way. thats what I look for.

Cyber Radio: Well cool. We have to take a little music break here so youre watching and listening to Cyberradio - CYBERRADIOTV.COM. If you have any questions go ahead and E-mail us at NETVALUE @ or ICQ us, its a message at 43091931.

Were talking with Dr. Toy about Play Quotient, the PQ of people - boy, mine must be really off the scale, but well find out in a minute. Well be right back.

Dr. Auerbach: It will be fun to see if anybody has questions and wants to write or call in. You have ICQ also

Cyber Radio: People will be able to send in an instant message.Is there anything in particular that you would like to cover that we havent covered?

Dr. Auerbach: Well Id love to talk about the web site and some of the features.

Cyber Radio: Want to also talk about you rated the top toys for the summer.

Dr. Auerbach: Yes.

Cyber Radio: I want to get into that.

Dr. Auerbach: Right. Traveling with kids.

Cyber Radio: Do you mind if we also talk about things like Furbies?&

Dr. Auerbach: Oh not at all. This subject of play and toys covers everything. Absolutely. You talk about anything you want to....

Cyber Radio: It might be just an interesting thing I want to ask. Do you find that theres a slight difference in some ethnicities and play time and things. For example, I know like a lot of my nieces and nephews and a lot of my Asian friends kids, or more specifically the Japanese ones, all like electronics, gadgets, gizmos that type of thing. Whereas a lot of my other friends are into - the ones who are like from the South, will tend to make more like the race cars and sports stuff

Dr. Auerbach: Right. Very much reflected by what the kids are exposed to and what parents introduce them to, what their friends are playing with. I mean Tomagachi is from Japan and swept across the country as a fad two years ago. It was phenomenal. All the kids wanted them because they get interested in these things.

Cyber Radio: Including my nieces and nephews are calling me over HERE to get them to send over there!

Dr. Auerbach: Right. They probably also wanted you to babysit with their pet when they went to school?

Cyber Radio: Oh no, they dont want me to babysit. Having me as a babysitter they kind of draw the line at that point. NO! Youre not taking care of my Tomagachi. Because I wouldnt give it up. I did that.

Dr. Auerbach: Oh, thats it. Okay.

Cyber Radio: I was always more of a&lately its been like, Ive looked over nostalgically of the old transformers I used to have - before they became transformers - and all the fun things. But Furby. I dont know. As a playmate, kind of scary.

Dr. Auerbach: I know. And the Amazing Amy.

Cyber Radio: Sorry? (What is it?)

Dr. Auerbach: You know about Amazing Amy? She has 10,000 words programmed into her and then they get her out of the box she starts demanding attention right away. Its a very interesting phenomenon of what theyre putting on to kids. A 7-year-old is not exactly ready for that kind of thing..

Cyber Radio: I dont even think the 20-year-olds are ready for that.

Dr. Auerbach: Right. What I wanted to say the topic of play is perfect to talk about during the summer but also important going back to school and later for the holidays. We should plan some time in October/November when people are starting to think about toys and by then my new book, Toys for a Lifetime will be out.

Cyber Radio: Okay

Dr. Auerbach: Yeah, that will be fun. This technology is amazing. This conversation goes everywhere, doesnt it?

Cyber Radio: Yes, these are OUR toys. Some of the guys in the other room will let us play with some of the toys! Adrians staring at me going nah-nah-nah-nah-nah. You do that Im not bringing those Hot Wheels

Dr. Auerbach: I have that in my book, Dr. Toys Smart Play. To remember back to your own toys as a child. What you remember playing with? Everybodys got memories of these things. Its really amazing that no matter what age you are, you remember back to those earlier days of experiences with toys so they really stay with you for a long time.

Cyber Radio: I long for them often.

Dr. Auerbach: I remember my first toy was two rocks, I think it created something called fire.

Cyber Radio: Oh really!

Dr. Auerbach: Of course that was with Oog. Those guys in the next cave were having problems with those dinosaurs. ANYWAY

Cyber Radio: The first toy I remember was like an Etch-A-Sketch. Or maybe they were building logs?

Dr. Auerbach: Lincoln logs. Well both are in my new book, Toys for a Lifetime. Has anybody sent any questions yet?

Cyber Radio: The problem is we only have one computer in the office here with us right now. In between all our music were putting up web cam type kinds of things or picture so unfortunately the computers being used at the moment.

Dr. Auerbach: It seems busier than ever and The Internet has caused it.

Cyber Radio: Exactly.

Dr. Auerbach: Well, things are so immediate. I mean Im getting queries from all over the world every day. I mean its astounding. Its brought the entire world into my lap. Its really amazing. If you look at our questions that we get on Ask Dr. Toy its a HUGE range of questions that people have about everything imaginable about playing and toys. Its just astounding. People have so many different interests and want information on so many aspects. It covers everything you could possibly imagine.

Cyber Radio: I havent had a chance to read the book to tell you the truth. Do you have a general opinion about the quote unquote war toy deals like lasers or guns or those plastic knives.

Dr. Auerbach: Oh sure, I do. Very much so. Im not very happy about any of that stuff. I dont anything that promotes violence is really productive for kids to play with. Im much more interested in them playing with things that really help them to develop.

Cyber Radio: Its harder and harder to find kids who want to play cowboys and Indians nowadays.

Dr. Auerbach: Right. But you find& I think the technologys changing the way kids play. You know its definitely much more interesting to them to play with the computers than to get into more interesting things, I think.

Cyber Radio: Hey-ho surfers were back. This IS CyberradioTV - CYBERRADIOTV.COM - ee-I ee-I O. Just kidding. Anyway, got to stick around Adrian, Im working on it, its getting there.

We are talking with Dr. Toy. This is Net Value, the consumer report show, were talking about toys.

Dr. Auerbach: Hi! Great to be here with you and have a playful morning.

Cyber Radio: The middle of the work week, hey, weve got to have some fun around here. So during the break we were kind of talking a little about, I was wondering about Furbies a bit. That seems to be this new interactive thing. I keep thinking people who have Furbies arent interacting as much with other people as& So are they having as much fun playing with Furbies or would they have more fun with more people?

Dr. Auerbach: Theres so many choices available today. You start putting chips into a teddy bear&Ten years ago it was Teddy Ruxpin.Then the teddy can move, talk and do things that certainly interacting with each other and so on. I think these products are innovative and interesting.The worlds wide open to new innovation in toys. I think chips are getting smaller.You can do so much more with chips than ever before. There are toys interacting with each other. Lego Mind Storms are an example. Theres a product by Neurosmith - musical blocks - that are fabulous. Theres products by a company called Leapfrog that helps kids learn how to speak with phonics and how to develop communication skills and math. Theyre using chips and technology in V-tech, Team concepts and others.

A lot of companies are really doing some interesting and innovative processes. Plus theres a lot of incredible software available today. Children have so much available to them. When you talk about individualized instruction or children really finding their interests expanding. You know the world is available to them at their fingertips with the Internet.. Its a very ok into the future as we look to the new millennium,and the types of toys children will be playing with.

When youre traveling with children, you should always have art supplies,audio tapes,books and things that they can do in the car or on the plane so the trip is more interesting. There are a lot of hand-held games by Milton-Bradley.It is fun for kids to use Colorforms. Everything doesnt have to be high-tech. You know crayons and paper are still great, finger paints, balloons and hula hoops. Yo-yos are absolutely fabulous.

Cyber Radio: And theyre coming back.

Dr. Auerbach: And theyre coming back. Thank goodness for that. They build eye hand coordination and are great fun. We have link on our website to theYo-Yo Times and to yo-yo companies like Duncan and Whats Next.

We have three programs a year which Ill just tell you about our web site quickly. We have the Best Vacation Products which are up there now from baby to older children. Theyre over almost 200 toys and products that are reviewed, evaluated by Dr. Toy and get the seal of approval. We have classic program with products that have been around for 10 years or more. These are playthings that you remember playing with as children and that your parents played with as children and theyre still around and kids are enjoying. You can have a lot of fun with jacks, jump ropes and so on.

You dont have to have a lot of money to have a good time with toys. We have the end of the year program, the summer time Im evaluating product from now through the end of the summer, the annual Best 100 Products for the Year. In this program are categories that cover toys and everything from low to high-tech.

Were looking for suggestions for products that people have found that they like and we want to know what does not work well. They can write to us to Dr. Toy We have an Ask Dr. Toy section with questions that people post with all types of issues. Weve got Dr. Toys Tips on Toys in many languages. If anyone looks at that and has a language they can translate the tips into we could be most appreciative of it and I will send them an autographed copy of my new book, Dr. Toys Smart Play for taking the time to help us with that.

Dr. Toys Tips are in Spanish, French, German, Danish and other languages.Im looking for all languages because toys really are world-wide. Children play everywhere and of course we want more adults and parents to think about the importance of play and encouraging children to play in all the different ways that they do - active, educational, creative, physical play - and using their imagination and expanding their creativity. Children need help in these ways. Provide a home and a school that encourages creativity and you are laying the foundation for a more creative society. Thats what Play Quotient is all about, helping children learn, play and be creative..

Cyber Radio: Let me ask you, you mentioned one of the things up on the site right now is the Best Summer Toys and one of the ones you mentioned was actually one that was featured on a different program that we have here, the Music Blocks but Im curious&.

Dr. Auerbach: Oh, NeuroSmith.  Right.

Cyber Radio: Right. What would you say, or maybe are the three or four top toys for kids this summer.

Dr. Auerbach: Well, you know, its an interesting question. I dont pick just those few products because children are so different., Every child, you know, plays as they wish to with a variety of thins. Lets look at the array and you decide what works best for your child. Let us know and we will add your comments to the products on line. Thanks for having me on your program now, Lets Play!

* End of interview *

Interview by Amazon Books with Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, PhD. - 'Dr.Toy'

Cyber Radio: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

Dr. Auerbach: I started writing as a young child and have not stopped. I enjoy expressing ideas, information and providing assistance. I don't think I intended to be a full time author after college and pursued professional work. However I wrote reports, booklets, reviews and evaluated the publications and writing of others. I began writing seriously after I completed my Ph.D. Each book I wrote had a specific purpose and this process continued to my current new book, Dr.Toy's Smart Play: How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q.(Play Quotient) by St.Martin's Press. What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

Dr. Auerbach: I like reading a variety of professional books plus children's books, parenting books, and books on well-being, nature and butterflies. Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)? Do you have a favorite location or time of day (or night) for writing? What do you do to avoid--or seek!--distractions?

Dr. Auerbach: I seem to be writing all day these days at least all of last year. Day and night. I work throughout the day taking short breaks. I work at the computer and often on a tape recorder. My favorite time to write is between 1 and 5 in the morning when the phone does not ring, it's really quiet and I can concentrate. I often let the machine answer calls when I write during the day. But I always try to answer all calls within 24 hours. Writing takes total concentration. Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events? Do you interact with your readers electronically through e-mail or other online forums?

Dr. Auerbach: I answer over 100 emails a day. I am pleased to meet readers on-line, at book signings and at workshops. I am also on line for interviews when they have been arranged. I do a lot of radio interviews throughout the year and especially like to respond to people calling in with their questions as I did recently in Salt Lake City. I am often on TV with a full range of topics discussing toys, children's products and parenting issues. When and how did you get started on the Net? Do you read any newsgroups such as rec.arts.books and rec.arts.sf.written, mailing lists, or other on-line forums? Do you use the Net for research--or is it just another time sink? Are you able to communicate with other writers or people you work with over the Net?

Dr. Auerbach: Our web site, Dr. Toy's Guide, was the first on line magazine format evaluating toys and children's products. I have been writing about toys for many years. I have been evaluating and presenting awards for best toys and children's products for the past seven years beginning with parent and professional magazines. Then we went on-line with our report four years ago. There are many advantages to being on- line. It has been exciting to see the growth of participation on the Internet.Companies began to understand what I was talking about when I presented the value of the Internet. Many are now on line and we are able to link and provide ways to obtain more product information. Consumers learn about hood products from our reviews. After learning about specific products they can learn more and select the most suitable products for children. I communicate as much as possible on the net around the world as I receive queries from students, teachers, parents, grandparents and children who want to learn about all aspects of toys. There are a lot of interesting queries.

Note: You can now obtain copies of Dr.Toy's Smart Play directly from


Introducing Dr. Toy: An Interview With Stevanne Auerbach,Ph.D.

by Leslie Harlib, Senior Editor, Storkzine Guest Gallery, StorkSite, August 11, 1997

Pick up a toy, just about any toy, and look at it. Form an opinion about it. Then, if you want to know more, contact Dr. Toy.Dr. Toy, a.k.a. Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., is a remarkable woman--mother,grandmother, writer, expert on child development, psychology and education, andone of America's leading authorities on children's toys.

As a teacher, she has worked with children of all ages. She worked with the Federal Government and was instrumental in approving the first grant for Sesame Street through the U.S. Department of Education. She also established the first daycare center for the employees of the Department of Education in Washington, DC., in 1969-1971, and was a key force behind the first comprehensive childcare bill that was introduced by senators Walter Mondale and John Brademas in 1970. (The bill passed in Congress in an unusual accord between Republicans and Democrats, but was ultimately vetoed by then-President Richard Nixon.)

A Bay Area resident since the early 1970's, Stevanne Auerbach also created San Francisco's first--and only--toy museum, which flourished from 1986 to 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake shut it down. Throughout her varied, child-oriented career, Auerbach maintained an underlying passion for toys that eventually resulted in her professional persona of "Dr.Toy."

"Toys are so much more valuable to understanding children than most people are aware of," she told me in a telephone interview. "How children react with toys tells you a great deal about their inner psychological development, their emotional levels, their learning skills."

"What I do," she continued, "is analyze children's toys, for babies on up to older children. I look at what's available from large and small companies, and explore them from three points of view: First, safety. Children need to know they will be safe. Is the product safe? Second, children need interesting things to do and play with. They need to explore new opportunities and be challenged. Will this toy provide them with these opportunities? Third, children need balance and variety intheir play. Parents can provide an assortment of carefully selected toys, books,software, tapes, puzzles, crafts, physical equipment and other items that help them learn while experiencing new-found interests."

According to Dr. Toy, the right products and activities will help children discover new talents and innate abilities without feeling pressured. That means toys need to be age appropriate--not just for the chronological age, but for the developmental age as well. And the item must have a certain level of integrity that will hold a kid's interest for more than the 20 minutes it takes to get the thing out of the package.

From this perspective, Auerbach is a great fan of what she calls 'classic' toys: "Anything over 10 years old, that continues to be loved, and which endures. It has to have that lasting quality. Hula Hoops, Marbles, Yo Yos, Jacks and Balls,Etch-a-Sketch, Slinky; those have been the kind of products that everyone played with they were children. Fortunately, those products are still around so today's parents can experience them with their children."

Though she's published a number of books, including a ground-breaking volume called "Choosing Child Care---A Guide to Parents on Child Care," (published in 1973, it was the first book to address this subject), Dr.Toy is best known these days for her "100 Best Children's Products" reviews, which she publishes in a nationally syndicated King Features newspaper column and on her web site:

Access one of these lists, and you find the company name, the name of the recommended product, its age-appropriateness, how much it costs, and, best of all, the phone number of the company that makes it. (To find out more information about the item and/or order it directly.) Auerbach also updates these lists seasonally, so parents can get a real sense of what an expert values in the vast array of new children's playthings constantly flooding the market.

So concerned is Dr. Toy about the safety and appropriateness of toys that she has even published--and posted on her Web site-- "How to Choose the Right Toys." Here's the 12-step process she suggests you go through when picking playthings for your child(ren): 

1. Is the toy fun?

2. Is the toy appropriate for the child now? To know what sort of toy the child prefers, observe the child at play, or ask other individuals that your child is around (grandparents, child-care or nursery school teacher, or baby sitter).

3. Will the toy frustrate or challenge the child?

4. Is the toy well-designed? Does it have any potential hazards?

5. Is there more than one use for the toy?

6. Will the toy endure? Does it have lasting play value?

7. Is the toy appealing?

8. Does the toy offer an opportunity to learn or stimulate thought? By using appropriate toys, children learn hand-eye coordination, develop attitudes about themselves, their playmates, their environment, and much more.

9. Will the toy help the child expand his or her creativity?

10. Does the toy match the package and the package match the toy?

11. Can I afford this toy?

12. Can the toy be cleaned? If it can, its longevity is increased.

Auerbach believes that parents must take a more active role in consciously choosing the toys their children play with--because the toys themselves can have such a profound impact on the children.

"Toys always reflect society. For example, in sexual discrimination issues, we can look at some dolls that are not realistic--and certainly not typical--and be glad there are companies coming out with alternatives. With boys, I see a lot of violence in games offered for the computer, which is of great concern to me. Seems to be an over-stimulation of their hormones, and their behavior tends to become more aggressive. When they watch TV, they act out those programs, too. We all need to be concerned about what we give our kids to play with--or look at."

As Dr. Toy puts, "Children are very involved in their play. It's very real to them. We need to be respectful, appreciate it, not criticize them, or take them away abruptly from what they are doing. We need to talk to them if they are willing to share, and read books that reinforce some of the play. It's important to play with them, not just as an observer, but as a participant as well."

"The parent is the child's first big toy and also the child's primary teacher. Parents who are aware understand the importance of play and how children learn through play, so they will always be interested in good products that will help their child gain skills."

Currently, Auerbach has completed her latest book, "Dr. Toy's Smart Play: How to Raise a Child with a High I.Q." to be published by St. Martin's Press early in 1998. It joins a roster of her other books, including an intriguing volume called "The Toy Chest" which includes the history of toys in America and is available for $15 through Dr.Toy's non-profit organization, The Institute for Childhood Resources. (If you send her your name along with your cheque, Dr.Toy will autograph your copy for you.)

Dr. Toy also welcomes email: contact her at . Or write to her the 'classic' way: Dr. Toy, Institute for Childhood Resources, 268 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94104-3524.