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James May's Toy Stories [Hardcover]

James May
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Price: £20.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Nov 2009
James May's Toy Stories is much more than just a TV tie-in. Inspired by James s exploits, the book covers both the stories behind a number of classic toys and the adventures in summer 2009 as James and his helpers, children and adults of all ages, build and recreate a range of toys in a series of Top Gear style escapades. In six ambitious projects, he enlists the help of volunteers and schoolchildren to help him build a 1/1 scale model kit of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk I; creates the world s longest Scalextric track at the historic Brooklands motor-racing circuit in Surrey; builds a full-size Lego house; enters a garden made entirely from Plasticine in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show; attempts to run a Hornby train set along a 10-mile stretch of track from Barnstaple to Bideford and uses a giant Meccano bridge to span the 40ft Pier Head canal in Liverpool. Each chapter includes details of how the projects were constructed, with diagrams, illustrations and informal photography taken during the filming. The book also features a history of the toys themselves, from their early British roots to their international appeal today. James May explains why each of these toys gave him so much pleasure as a child and how, through the adventures he devised, they can still provide days of endless fun.

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James May's Toy Stories + James May's Toy Stories [DVD] [2009]
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Conway (2 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844861074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844861071
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 19.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James May is a writer, broadcaster and co-host of Top Gear on BBC2. He writes a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph and has presented series for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.

Product Description

About the Author

James May is a well-known writer, broadcaster and co-presenter of BBC TV's 'Top Gear'. He also writes a weekly motoring column for The Daily Telegraph. James enjoys cars, motorcycles, light aircraft and a drink, always in that order. He lives in Hammersmith with Fusker, the world's most unpleasant cat.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like the TV, you'll love the book 17 Nov 2009
Is was expecting this book to be just about the TV programme, but it is much, much more. It's has so much information about the toys and their history, as well as behind the scene details about how James May went about each project. If you grew up with these toys, as I did, you'll love this book - it's nostalgic and informative and the perfect Christmas present for anyone with a passion for toys.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i love this book 8 Dec 2009
By N Eliot
This book is amazingly good value considering how jam packed it is- it covers the projects James May undertook in the TV series but is also rich in detail about the history of each toy and includes lovely things like pictures of the old fashioned packaging and also has a friendly tone to the writing which makes it really accessible and interesting. Ultimately it shows how much fun you can have with each toy. My family are hooked on the TV series and as there are two more episodes to go before Christmas, this is a must for a pressie!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series! Great book! 8 Dec 2009
This has been one of the best series on tv this autumn and this is a fantastic book to go with it. The great thing about the book is that you get so much more about the history of the various toys which I suppose they just did not have time to put into each of the episodes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toy Stories 27 Dec 2009
By Milcon
Well done James! a great book. colouful, easy reading and thoroughly interesting throughout!.
The Meccano chapter took me back to time long forgotten in the late 1960s, Had a small Hornby set but never had a Scalectrix. Fiddled with multi coloured crinkled plastercine strips, but as for Airfix like many other 1960s boy [just off 50] it made my childhood!
Nice format filled with clear pictures and original brochure/advertising material to make even more enjoyabe.
Seen the programmes, have the dvd and now the book!
Well recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Kids will Love this Too!! 7 Dec 2009
By Pat B
I was curious about the James May Toy Stories television series when i was saw it advertised as wasn't sure what to expect. But was pleasantly surprised. The different 'old skool' kids toys that he showed on each episode of the series took me back to when I used to play with plasticine and help out on my brother's airfix kits - I was hooked. I then realised there was a book to go with the series and went out and bought a copy. The book is great - really informative and super jam packed with details on all of the toys covered. Not only does it cover the various projects shown on the series but it mentions the history of all of them - very interesting to know how some of the most popular kids toys were first created and introduced. I went out and bought a second copy of the book as it's going to make a great Christmas gift for my brother - he will love it.
Am now waiting patiently for the Lego episode - reading about it in the book, it looks like it is going to be hilarious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good background to accompany the series 8 Dec 2009
Despite the naff cover, the contents of the book, bring out James May's enthusiasm for the toys covered in the accompanying tv series. You get a historical background to the toy concerned, and then how the actual challenge was met to accomplish the bridge across the Leeds Liverpool canal, or the Scalextric at Brooklands for example. Certainly got our family reaching for the glue and paint of the airfix Spitfire kit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captain Slow's Toys Inspire the Mind 16 Feb 2010
Toys certainly say something about you and this book clearly says a lot about James May.

The book has plenty of great photos as well as images from the TV series. All the projects undertaken in the series are there, with a bonus of additional information in each chapter.

The text is clear, well written, and has the feel of James' enthusiasm for each of the challenges he set. The chapters each have an introduction covering the history and people involded in the toy (and in some cases James' own toy examples).

As interesting as the toys themselves are also the technical and engineering problems each challenge laid down. Some were clearly harder than others.

At the back of the book are a number of sections "for anoraks" listing parts, model numbers and geneology of the toys in the series.

It would have been nice to hear about some of the people who helped on the Lego House as the household items were great lego projects in their own right.

The hornby challenge was possibly a challenge too far, but they all inspire you to try them. And yes, Mecanno turned up for Christmas.

[Hardback version reviewed]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James May's Old Recipe for a Modern World 21 Jan 2012
As a self-confessed admirer of James May, and a bit of an anglophile to boot, I guess I was always going to find this book of interest. However it has by far exceeded my expectations and I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience,

Upon reading I discovered the book to be laid back, very gentle and rather wistful at look at the history of these British icons of the toy world. Somehow James seems never to have lost the joy of his childhood dreams and has created a moving tribute to both the manufacturers and the era in which he grew up.

Of course the upscaling of his childhood imagination creates a number of problems when he attempts to undertake massive tasks with materials more properly meant for the lounge room floor. But in his quiet, good natured, bumbling way he describes how they overcome (almost) all of these in his quest for success. The results admirably explain why Meccano was never Brunel's material of choice, and Beechey never sought to use Hornby to rebuild his non-profitable branch lines.

However along the way "Captain Slow" somehow (and this is the miracle of the story) manages to recreate for all those involved, some of the feeling of the rose coloured vision, with which he undoubtedly views his childhood.

My only complaint is, what on earth is that plastic, dumbed down Meccano called Lego doing in this book. But then perhaps thats just the difference between the childhoods of a fifty something (like me) and the forty somethings of James's era.

It is a feel good book, and I am grateful to the author for sharing it with me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Given as a gift but well received.
Published 2 months ago by Anniepegs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book.
Really only bought this for the Airfix section as I missed the program that showed the building of the 1:1 BTK Spitfire. Read more
Published 6 months ago by x wing flyboy
1.0 out of 5 stars horrible condition
i bought this second hand, the description was very good condition!! It wasn't the cover was ripped and the book was in a horrible condition it was covered in some sort of paint!
Published 8 months ago by me
4.0 out of 5 stars Grew up in the 60's & 70's?
If you grew up in the 60's or 70's and lament the day when toys were toys, read this. My kids have no idea what toys are or how to entertain themselves. Read more
Published on 13 May 2011 by The old man
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 'man' present
Fantastic book, which you will enjoy even if you didn't watch the TV series. My husband is really enjoying re-living all his childhood boy toy moments! Read more
Published on 6 April 2011 by vpc1
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as the DVD - really should buy both!
Bought this as saw advertised alongside the DVD. A lot of other details that were not in the televised programmes. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by R T
5.0 out of 5 stars A great gift book
I bought this book as a gift, but it was extremely late being wrapped up, as I was so interested in looking at it myself! Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2010 by A. Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great by itself - brilliant with the DVD as well
Books about TV series are always a boring clone of the programme??? Not this one. I saw some of the series, then found the book in a bookstore. Read more
Published on 2 July 2010 by Mandarin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great toy memories
I bought this as a present but had a good read myself before handing it over. Loved watching the series, the book is full of facts I'd forgotten I'd ever known!
Published on 26 Feb 2010 by A. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Creative, Minimally Stodgy
A wonderful companion book to the TV series; it adds background information to what was already presented and inspires further exploration. Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2010 by Dennis Koga
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