G. Willikers! Blog

Jun 09, 2016

Tractor Mac Comes to Portsmouth

Author/ Illustrator Billy Steers and his friend TRACTOR MAC will be visiting our Market Square Day booth this Saturday, June 11th! It's a great opportunity to sit on the coolest tractor around and meet his talented creator. We'll have the complete collection of story books and you'll have the chance to get signed copies right on the spot. Market Square Day runs from 9:00am - 4:00pm.

Tractor Mac in Comes to PortsmouthTractor Mac in Comes to Portsmouth


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Oct 02, 2015

Talk, Paper, Scissors

G.Willikers! Toy Shop is happy to host master silhouette artist Clay Rice this Sunday, October 4th.  A gifted storyteller (he has 3 children's books: The Lonely Shadow, The Stick & Mama Let's Make a Moon ) Clay will be reading during his visit as well as taking appointments for creating a beautiful silhouette of your child.  This is Clay's 6th visit to Portsmouth!

Clay Rice at workClay Rice at work

Here's an exerpt from a recent article in the Charleston City Paper...

"While most of his schoolmates were struggling to cut out circles with safety scissors, 6-year-old Clay Rice saw a blue heron and fashioned its silhouette from a blank piece of paper. That day, he began his apprenticeship in the family trade of paper-cut art.

“Silhouette artistry has been in my family for 85 years,” Rice says. His grandfather, Carew Rice, was dubbed “America’s Greatest Silhouette Artist.” The elder Rice traveled around the world, making profile portraits that became treasured keepsakes. He was also known for creating intricate paper-cut landscapes of his native South Carolina.

“Granddaddy made it look so easy,” Clay Rice says. “He started me out doing barnyard animals. Then he would say, ‘Cut out a cow, a pig, and a chicken all in a row.’” Soon a whole paper landscape unfolded.

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Jun 26, 2015

Library STEM Night

Stem 1Stem 1STEM 2STEM 2STEM 3STEM 3G.Willikers! Toy Shop recently hosted our second STEM Night at the Portsmouth Public Library.  Children (and their families) were encouraged to play, create and build using Magnatiles, Keva Blocks, Wikki Stix, dominoes and marble mazes.  We're inspired by and proud of all of the young New Hampshire builders that came out to participate and we're looking forward to hosting two different Game Nights at the library on Wednesday, July 15 and Wednesday, August 5th from 6-8pm.  If you have a favorite place to play in Portsmouth...tweet about it at #playportsmouth.  See you on Market Street!

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Jul 10, 2010

Alzheimer's Memory Walk

Memory Walk Portsmouth 2010Memory Walk Portsmouth 2010As part of our "Think Outside the Bag" initiative, G.Willikers! Toy Shop in Portsmouth,NH is donating a dime to the Alzheimer's Foundation every time a customer opts not to take a bag with their purchase.  This program has been in effect for over two years now and has been a great success; saving literally thousands of bags from potentially going into landfills AND generating hundreds of dollars in donations to local non-profits and other organizations.  We'll be supporting the Alzheimer's Memory Walk with this money and donating it at the local event on Saturday, September 11th at the South Mill Playground. 


In addition to the donations made at the counter for saving a bag, G.Willikers! will also donate $2.00 of every "GO3801" t-shirt sale for Alzheimer's as well!  SO SUPPORT OUR FAVORITE ZIP CODE (03801!!) AND PURCHASE A VERY LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT AND HELP Limited Edition G03801 T-ShirtLimited Edition G03801 T-ShirtTHE CAUSE.  Wear your passion for PORTSMOUTH!

Sizes currently available are

XS (2-4)/ Small (6-8)/ Med (10-12)/ Adult Small (34-36)/ Adult Med (38-40)


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Jul 08, 2010

Who Really Invented Monopoly?

Strong Museum acquires rare early Monopoly GameStrong Museum  Rochester, NYStrong Museum Rochester, NY
Playthings Staff -- Playthings, 7/1/2010 2:54:58 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A rare and unique early version of Monopoly, used as evidence in a controversial, 10-year legal copyright battle over the iconic American game's true inventor, has been acquired by Strong National Museum of Play - home of the National Toy Hall of Fame.

The museum has announced that second oldest known version of the world's most popular board game ever has been added to its world-renowned collections of play-related objects: a folk-art Monopoly game created by a member of the Heap family between 1910 and 1917 when the family lived in Altoona, Penn.

The Heap board game also has the distinction of being the oldest Monopoly game with all its playing pieces intact including hand-made money, property cards in color groupings, and houses and other "improvement" buildings. The Heap game was an important piece of evidence in a Monopoly copyright dispute that began in 1974 and spanned a decade.

To briefly summarize the copyright disagreement: Pennsylvanian Charles Darrow claimed to have invented the game of Monopoly and in 1935 sold the rights to Parker Brothers. In 1973, Ralph Anspach, a professor of economics, invented a game called Anti-Monopoly; and, in 1974, became embroiled in a lawsuit for trademark infringement brought against him by the General Mills Fun Group.

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Apr 26, 2009

Clay Rice visits G.Willikers!

Clay Rice at workClay Rice at work

 CLICK to see pictures from this event.

Nationally known silhouette artist Clay Rice brought his rare skill of cutting silhouette portraits to Portsmouth, NH Wednesday, April 22 when he created over 70 of these heirloom memories for local residents.  His scheduled day was packed full with fans of this simple art form.  

The term derives from Etienne de Silhouette (1706-67), French Minister of Finance under Louis XV, who cut shadow portraits as a hobby.  Until the end of the 18th century silhouette portraits were more commonly known in Britain as ‘profiles’ or ‘shades’.  This form of portraiture, being relatively quick and inexpensive to produce, was very popular from the 1750s to the 1850s, when it was overtaken by photography.

Mr. Rice proved to be as interesting as his art.  “I started cutting silhouettes at about age 6 when my grandfather showed me how to cut out simple shapes such as barnyard animals and trees.”  In fact Carew Rice, Clay’s grandfather was hailed by Poet Carl Sandburg as “America’s Greatest Silhouettist”.  His hauntingly beautiful landscapes of Southern life and lands are sought after by collectors worldwide.  Rice’s first paying job as a silhouettist didn’t come until he was 20.  “I was living in Nashville, TN, learning to write songs and commuting home to the South Carolina lowcountry in the summertime to make extra money cutting silhouettes at the Pawleys Island Hammock shops for vacationers from the upstate."Clay Rice finishes a portraitClay Rice finishes a portrait

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Feb 24, 2009

The Touch

Hands On!

One of the best things about going to Toy Fair is being able to see the toys up close and in action. Most companies are demonstating their products, and encouraging you to jump right in and play! The Touch "The Touch" is a geat new game for kids ages 5 and up. It's "hands on" in the true sense of the word! Players use their sensory,memory and matching skills to locate objects. It can be played competitively or cooperatively! This multi-award winning game will sure to be one of our new favorites!

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Feb 23, 2009

"Gather 'Round Dinner Game" by Family Time Fun

Let the conversations begin!

Some of our favorite products come from the conversations we have with our customers. This is definitely a great recommendation! "Gather 'Round Dinner Game" is a new game is from a company called Family Time Fun. We had the wonderful opportunity to meet the owners of this MassachDinner GameDinner Gameusetts based business! They have added a new game with each new year of their growing business, and we thought we'd give this one a try! "Spice" up the dinner family meals with this inventive conversation starter! This great new game should be on our shelves in no time!






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Feb 23, 2009

Green Toys

Green Toys Recycling TruckGreen Toys Recycling TruckGreenToys!

One of our priorities at Toy Fair was to look for Eco-Friendly Toys. "Going Green" has been a positive trend in the toy indusrty, and many companies are finding creative and resourceful ways to make new product lines that are good for kids and good for the Earth.
Green Toys is one of our most exciting discoveries at Toy Fair this year. Their Plan, Product and Packaging are all "Green", and they are also made int the USA!
Green Toys uses recycled milk bottles to create an ever-growing line of products. You will be seeing almost all of their products on our shelves, adding to our ever-growing collection of innovative toys that are "Eco-Friendly"
Green Toys Tea SetGreen Toys Tea Set

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Feb 23, 2009

Toy Fair '09!

Toy Fair '09!Toy Fair '09! Running a toy store takes a lot of hard work and a lot of hard play! Sometimes our work and our play look a lot alike!

One of the fun things we get to do for our work as toy store owners is to visit NYC each year to take part in the New York Toy Fair! The New York Toy Fair is held at the Javitt's Center, and over 100,000 products from over 1200 exhibitors are on display! Talk about sensory overload! It took us 2-1/2 days to walk the aisles, and we could have used even more time!

One of the most exciting parts of the Toy Fair is meeting the people who develop the toys we carry on our shelves. We get to hear how they came up with such great ideas, and how they took their ideas and made them into reality! Their stories are fascinating and inspiring!


Our next couple of blogs will give you a glimpse at some of the cool new toys that we found on our visit to the New York Toy Fair!


If you want to see some live coverage of the Toy Fair from the Toy Fair TV, Click Here!

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G.Willikers! blog is the place for parents and kids to go for all the latest news and events happening at our toy store in Portsmouth, NH and around the Seacoast area.

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