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LET'S PLAY by Camilla Gryski


Traditional Games of Childhood

by Camilla Gryski & illustrated by Dušan Petričić

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-55074-497-6
Publisher: Kids Can

A joyous initiation into the world of old-fashioned fun, for kids whose games are now enjoyed in adult-supervised play-dates, cyberspace, and television. Although it will be odd for adults to see that old favorites such as hide-and-seek, tag, marbles, and hopscotch are passed along in a book instead of on the playground, Gryski (Friendship Bracelets, 1993) does a marvelous job of making such age-old games look at least as fun as Nintendo. Leap frog includes intriguing variations, such as “Keep the Kettle Boiling,” and the jump-rope rhymes will keep even skilled skippers on their toes. She also includes snippets of history, e.g., jacks were called “Astragals” by the Romans and played with sheep’s ankle bones. Petricic’s pictures are boisterous visualizations of Gryski’s ideas: An illustration of the game of Telephone shows a girl whispering a picture of a chicken to her friend; as each child passes the message along, the view of the chicken utterly disintegrates. One of the book’s finer moments is found in the introduction, which encourages children to alter the games: “These games belong to you, too. They are yours to play.” (Nonfiction. 7-10)