Favorite

Toy story 

Let Boris tell you about it.

click to enlarge Best of Arkansas 2011: Heights Toy Store

Boris is a $59.99 T-Rex from Learning Curve, a plastic articulated embodiment of the character from TV's "Dinosaur Train." You might say, so what, another T-Rex at a toy store. But Boris has 70 different phrases up the virtual sleeves on those little forearms. This reporter was listening to him talk about what he likes to eat and what he weighs and how tall he is when suddenly Boris was interrupted by another dinosaur. Ned, a $27.99 brachiosaurus grazing nearby in his display area, told Boris hello, and Boris said, "Hi Ned!"

So the dinosaurs are talking to one another at the Heights Toy Store, thanks to little embedded electronic ears. "They don't interact with the [TV] program ... yet," owner Greg Bonner said. They are the kind of toy that parents whose kids are grown will be wistful about (though perhaps not too wistful, given what it could cost if your child would like to surround herself with chatty pals from the Cretaceous). Parents might also wish to have the new, much easier and just as much fun version of the old bongo board, the Spooner Board (Spooner Board, $47.99). If you rounded off one end of a very fat skateboard (without wheels) and made it concave instead of flat, you'd have a Spooner, on which you can rock back and forth, spin around, ride down a grassy slope, sled down a snowy one and, the bubbly and exuberant Bonner said, dance as an "exercise for buns," as he said an adult customer told him she was doing in an aerobics class. It's tempting, very tempting, and it requires no batteries.

Not even in the shop yet, but ordered, is Bonner's latest find at market, Animails by Marky Sparky, rubber animals that you can write on and put in the mail. He had an example in the store, a pink pig he'd mailed to his granddaughter. You write the address on one side of the pig and your message on the other. Some well-heeled folks, he hears, are buying them as party invitations; at around $10 a pop plus postage (not cheap) they'd be perfect for a really high-class barbecue. Bonner will also be getting frog and dog Animails. The toys come in pink and blue; Bonner is begging the manufacturer to turn the pigs out in red and make him a very happy toy store owner indeed.

This reporter was pretty happy to beat Bonner at a game of Fastrack (Blue Orange, $19.99), a simple wooden box in which opposing sides launch discs from a rubber string (a la a slingshot) at each other; the first to get all the discs through a narrow slot and onto the opponent's side wins. This reporter not only won, but won while sitting upon a Bounce-A-Roo Hopper, a 32-inch-diameter rubber ball, an old toy but a good one (Geospace, $31.99).

Alas, we could not beat Bonner at the "Spot It" matching card game of astonishing algorithmic design (Blue Orange, $12.99), but it was last year's toy anyway; more recent is Blue Orange's "Trigger" ($12.99), which requires players to answer a question yes or no by slapping the right or left hand down. It would double as a drinking game ... as so many children's games requiring dexterity do.

For babies, the Heights Toy Store still sells what Bonner vows is Angelina Jolie's favorite baby gift, Sophie la Girafe ($22.99). It is, Bonner says, "basically an expensive dog chew toy" that every baby loves.

Then, of course, there are the toys we buy knowing they will break right away but are such a hilarious concept we can't help ourselves. That would include the "Spinmallow" (Marky Sparky, $14.99), a metal stick that "spins at exactly the right RPM" to insure an evenly toasted marshmallow. A flashlight has been built in so the toaster can see if his marshmallow has caught on fire yet and if he's stepped on the Hershey bars. It requires, sigh, batteries.

Bonner's parents, Royal and Ina Bonner, bought the Heights Toy Store in 1966. They were its fourth owners. Bonner said the store is about 70 years old, and the third or fourth oldest family-owned specialty toy store in the nation. People ask him how he's managed to stay in business for so long. "We don't know any better?" is his reply.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Heights Toy Center

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • One dead, another hospitalized after midtown shooting

    The Little Rock Police Department has tweeted that officers are on the scene of a double shooting at the Midtown Park Apartments, 6115 W. Markham St., near the corner of University Avenue and Markham. Police say one person has died, and a second victim is at a hospital. The apartments were previously known as the Plaza Towers, an affordable housing development.
    • Apr 26, 2017
  • Semantics drives discord over Metroplan vote on 30 Crossing: CORRECTION

    The board of directors of Metroplan voted today to seek public comment on an amendment to its Imagine Arkansas long-range transportation plan that would allow the highway department's 30 Crossing project, to widen 7 miles of I-30 through downtown North Little Rock and North Little Rock and replace the Arkansas River bridge, to go forward.
    • Apr 26, 2017
  • Food Truck Friday lineup: Cajun, Asian and BBQ

    Here's the lineup — including two out-of-towners —  for the Downtown Little Rock Partnership's Food Truck Friday feed from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. April 28 at Capitol and Main streets: Almost Famous, Black Hound B-B-Q, The Southern Gourmasian and Whole Hog Cafe's food truck.
    • Apr 26, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Latest in Cover Stories

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Eye for an eye

    • It seem evident that the death penalty is not a deterrent to any specified abborant…

    • on April 27, 2017
  • Re: Country Club of Little Rock: Still for Whites only

    • But plenty of other groups have their own clubs. Seems you are anti-White if you…

    • on April 26, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation