The generous size of this compendium of the most popular social games currently played by children in the playground should act as a useful corrective for those adult pessimists convinced that the young these days are in total thrall to Play Stations and little else. The author also adds brief comments after her description of each game, all of which are worth reading. Did you know that the French call ‘Chinese Whispers’ Téléphone arabe and ‘Blind Man’s Buff’ Colin-Maillard, after a medieval fight between a lord from Louvain and a man named Colin who was armed with a mallet and became blinded in the course of battle? Had you ever realised that the rhyme ‘Here we go gathering nuts in May’ makes no sense, given that nuts do not ripen until autumn? One possible solution to this conundrum suggests that for ‘nuts’ read ‘knots’, referring to the posies of flowers traditionally gathered to celebrate May Day and the end of winter. Be that as it may, children themselves have never worried about a lack of meaning while playing this or any other traditional game. There are many more interesting historical nuggets to be found here, from descriptions of Jane Austen’s vigorous participation in many of these activities with her nephews and nieces to Leo Tolstoy’s incorporation of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ game into his superlative novel Anna Karenina. Enclosed in a dust cover which incongruously has the effect of making this book look well used even before it has been opened, there is much to enjoy here, not least its numerous photographs old and new.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2009-01-27 14:36:502022-12-27 14:42:38Kiss Chase and Conkers: The Games We Played