Searching for Kingly Critter: A Deliciously Different Tale of Obsession and Nostalgia

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ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2004 - Novelties - 158 pages
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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was war at Australian breakfast tables as children raced to claim the small plastic toy hidden at the bottom of the pack of cereal. A couple of decades after the last toy rolled off the production line, hidden stashes of these wildly innovative toys were unearthed by those keen to relive their childhoods and reanimate the 7-year-old within who was obsessed with completing a set of Crater Critters, Tooly Birds or Camel Train. Searching for Kingly Critter is part pop-cultural history, part character study and part quest. The quest is Barry Divola's dogged hunt for the rarest cereal toy of all: a 1968 Kingly Critter. Along the way he encounters the perpetrators, the designers, the hoarders, the collectors, the scammers, the celebrities, the freaks and the lovely old ladies who keep hidden treasure in a biscuit tin at the bottom of the linen cupboard. What we find in this smart, inventive and intriguing book is not just piles of coloured plastic but a door leading back to another time and a key to the nature of obsession.

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