Book Review: Retro Toddler – Anne Zachry: Everything Retro Is Cool Again!!


We reviewed Retro Toddler for Anne! See what we thought about it below!!

Book: Zachry, A. H. (2018). Retro Toddler: More Than 100 Old-School Activities to Boost review

First Impressions:

    • One thing I enjoyed about this book was that it was clear and easy to read. The layout really lends itself to this; it does not feel like you are reading a textbook.
    • I love the alternating ‘he’ and ‘she’ throughout the book, which is something I would never have thought to do, but a great way to manage gender bias.
    • There is a clear vibe from the book about getting down on the floor and playing with your child – it doesn’t have to be expensive or have ‘all the bells and whistles’. There is a real focus throughout this book to get back to basics, which I love! Parents can be under so much pressure these days to ‘promote’ development, and this book is a lovely reminder for therapists and families alike that “promoting development” doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated.

Information Station:information station

    • There is some great information about childhood development and what to expect for each age group; something parents ask about a lot.
    • Anne explains brain development clearly and in a way that is easy to read for families and parents. This helps set the scene on why she focuses on different skill sets that children develop. Understanding brain development is helpful for families to understand why a toddler might be doing certain things at certain times.
    • I really enjoyed the chapter on play. It was well explained and talks about all things we know as therapists but often forget to communicate to our families. I will be marking this chapter and asking a few of my families to read over it. We often talk about ‘play being the child’s work’, and it is the way children learn and develop their skills.
    • Play is not just running around; it is the creating, making, enjoying, thinking, pretending, imagining, reading, building, playing with each other, drawing, and moving that children do with their time.
    • Anne explains play in much more detail, why it is important, how to do it, activities that are playful and work on specific skills and things that impact play.


    • My key highlight I took from this book was the clear reminder just to get on the floor and play with our children. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, and in fact it is better (for them) when it is not!
    • I also loved the chapter about screen time – always a timely reminder. This is something we talk often about with the families we work with and to have the evidence written out so clearly is a massive help for families and therapists alike.
    • The information about how praise influences a growth mindset was eye opening and something I will be changing tomorrow in my next therapy session.
    • I also love the glossary at the end, as it is super handy and clear to refer back to as a non-therapist.


  • It would have been great to have a few more pictures of the activities, if nothing more to reassure parents (and therapists!) that it these toys and creations do not need to be ‘pinterest’ perfect.

Where to get it:

  • Amazon; for about £15 or  $15

Closing Comments:

    • I loved this book, and it was a pleasure to review it for Anne; I can’t wait for her next book!
    • The important reminder about having fun, playing with your child, using what is around you was something I really connected with. 
    • We can get distracted with all these fancy toy, tablets and games, whereas, in reality, what our children actually need is us; playing with them, at home and in the community with what’s around us. I loved how Anne highlights everyday learning opportunities for parents.
    • The chapters relating to play and screen time were so well written and clear. This will be a key chapter I will be referring parents to immediately.


  • 4.5/5 

Check out our website on play here! 

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