Almost all of us, at one point or another, have owned a toy. If a child doesn't love at least one toy in their lifetime, I view that as a tragedy.Toys are our first friends, our first enemy, our first love, our first heartbreak. Toys are both those echoes of the past, and signals to our future."A Room Full of Toys" is a book I stumbled upon by accident. Filled with wonderful full colour photographs of an array of toys ranging from the previous turn of the century to the now, it depicts toys in their natural state.Our childhood bedrooms.Our rooms when we were kids were our own sanctuaries: they could have been castles or palaces, or other worlds that needed exploring. Our rooms were mountains, canyons, deserts, forests, caves, and cities--anything we required when we played with our toys.The photographs in "A Room Full of Toys" will appear both familiar and disturbing all at the same time. Why? Because toys only look normal when played with by children. Left on their own, we can't help but wonder if that childhood fantasy is possible...'Do my toys come alive when I sleep?'Such is the dual nature of a toy: a plaything that has to look 'alive' enough to attract the attention of a child, yet still appears artificial and clock-work to the adult eye.Alberto Manguel writes several short passages among the many photographs, telling us why toys exist, and why we make them exist.It's a wonderful book to skim through--you may see a toy your parents or your grandparents had, or something you yourself owned. The toys have been positioned and photographed, causing many to ask exactly what adventure they had embarked upon when the picture was taken.And where will it end up?That's the thing about toys--they still require us to move them and motivate them. They represent the first stories we ever created ourselves, whether it was a doll's house tea-party, or a toy soldiers ambush on an army of stuffed bears.Toys will always represent our imaginations and dreams, and these are the greatest gifts any child could have.