Oh, for the days of childhood innocence, when a sandbox or crayons was enough to keep a little tyke entertained. Now a California retailer is sending mail-order catalogs directed at kids. Are charge cards for minors next?

The marketer behind the mail-order strategy is Chuck Medlin, owner of a San Francisco store called Desire: Sticker Headquarters for the Universe. Medlin put together a mailing list from letters and names collected from children who visit his store. In July, he sent 50,000 sticker-paraphernalia directories to these fledgling consumers around the world.

Although it is a marketing tool to reach the lollipop set, the mind-teasing riddles and games sprinkled throughout the book help kids learn, Medlin claims. "Parents tell us they're using it to teach their children to use money wisely," he says. And to think there was a time when education was free.

Medlin is preparing a second edition even before he gets the results of the first mailing. He knows where to find budding consumers.L.M.S.