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It's Alive

[whitespace] Zoob

Zoob is taking on a life of its own

By Jenny Shears

This is one smart toy. Hiding behind Zoob's kid-like bright colors and plastic construction is a grown-up lesson in biology, math, physics and just about any other science a Zoob player can think of. Join a citroid (the dimpled ball-end) to an orbit (the movable jaw) and you've got a pretty close replica of a human ball joint. Keep adding and you'll soon have working models of spiders, dinosaurs or birds--all of whose construction isn't that far off from the real thing. Zoob's five pieces were inspired by the five basic nucleic acids of DNA, the basis of all living things. Putting these plastic pieces together is therefore not only an organically fluid procedure, but also a pretty accurate example of how molecular structures grow and connect.

Zoob is the creation of Michael Grey of the San Franciscan based Primordial Toy Co. Grey, who studied undergraduate math and genetics at UC-Berkeley and received his master's in fine arts at Yale, has found the perfect outlet for his wide-reaching expertise in this toy creation that combines science, art, math and the specialized art of play.

Since the product's launch in September 1997, Zoob has steadily received awards for being the most fun and best learning activity and has expanded beyond the basic multicolored box to include Zoobdudes, Citripods (bug kits), Critters (for the younger Zoobers) and Zoobtoons, which includes a stop-animation video and instructions on creating the characters in your own home. So leave Lincoln Logs and Moon Buggies to the other kids this holiday season, because Zoob is taking on a life of its own.

Prices range from $7.99 to $79.99. Available at Imaginarium, Kindertoys, FAO Schwartz and Cliff's Variety.

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From the December 21, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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