Living: In All Seasons, Toys Are Us

Playthings that embody the myths of childhood

A brother and sister leave home to wander through a place where exotic figures have the power to enchant and destroy. But the siblings are protected by an even greater force: goodness. At the end of a winding and hazardous journey, the wicked are vanquished and the children are redeemed.

This Christmas the pair may be called He-Man and She-Ra, and their blond manes and mesomorphic torsos beckon from shelves in nearly every toy store in the nation. In other times the wandering children have been differently named and more modestly dressed. Observes Roger Sale, a professor of English at the...

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