|Primary Format: Cloth|
|Size:||8.5 x 11 in.|
Once Upon a Playground: A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920–1975
Brenda BiondoCloth: $29.95
Although Biondo’s goal was documentation, her arresting images will appeal to fine art lovers as much as nostalgic readers.
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.
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.
Once Upon a Playground celebrates the playgrounds that sprung up across the nation between 1920 and 1975. The book includes more than 160 contemporary photographs, along with vintage images and a forward by playground historian Susan G. Solomon.
—Colorado Springs Gazette
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 G. 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. DARELL HAMMOND is the founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and coauthor of How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. A percentage of author royalties will be donated to KaBOOM! (kaboom.org), a national playground nonprofit.