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Once Upon a Playground


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Susan G. Solomon ix Introduction 1 1920s& 1930s 7 1940s& 1950s 39 1960s& 1970s 61 Afterword by Darell Hammond 149 Acknowledgments 151 Photo Locations 153 Historical Image Credits 155

About the Author

BRENDA BIONDO is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Denver Post, USA Weekend magazine, and many other publications. Her photography has been exhibited all over the country, and images from her playground series are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. A native New Yorker, Biondo lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. SUSAN SOLOMON, a playground historian, is the author of "The Science of Play: How to Build Playgrounds that Enhance Children's Development" (forthcoming, UPNE) and American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space (UPNE). DARELL HAMMOND is the founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and coauthor of How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play.


Where did all the high slides go? Ten years ago, Colorado photographer Brenda Biondo was at a local playground with her baby daughter and realized the equipment looked a lot different from what she remembered. As she visited other parks, she rarely found the traditional metal slides, monkey bars and seesaws of her youth. When she did, she took pictures. That search turned into a larger project, in which Ms. Biondo traveled to different states photographing old playground equipment. The results are in her new book, Once Upon a Playground.-- "Wall Street Journal"
Brenda Biondo documents vintage playground equipment in Once Upon a Playground, her book about the disappearing metal slides, swings and other rides beloved by Baby Boomers.-- "Denver Post"
"Although Biondo's goal was documentation, her arresting images will appeal to fine art lovers as much as nostalgic readers."-- "Publishers Weekly"
Writer/photographer Biondo's visually appealing book of photographs provides a healthy dose of nostalgia for lunchtime recesses and summer mornings spent on monkey bars and jungle gyms. She structures her book so that playthings appear chronologically; every two decades share a chapter, from the 1920s until the 1970s. A foreword by playground historian Susan Solomon and an afterword by Kaboom! founder Darell Hammond offer historical and contemporary context, respectively. Images from archival catalogs and pamphlets, as well as a few historical pictures, portray children at play on evolving playground structures. The bustling scenes from the play equipment companies' promotional materials serve as a foil for the modern-day photographs of many of these antique playgrounds, all of which are empty, no children in sight. In several of the images, contemporary play equipment in plastics and bright colors have been installed alongside the older, faded metal structures; readers can see clearly how approaches to children's play spaces have evolved over time. VERDICT This book is both a reminiscence as well as a fitting commentary on our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and a surging preference for techno-centric activities."-- "Library Journal"

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