Ferrer transports readers to a time gone by, when stoopball and jacks, string games and stickball, hopscotch and marbles were the staples of childhood.
As Ferrer notes in his introduction, games have been a part of childhood since the beginning of time, helping children “learn new skills, discover unknown strengths, and build peer relations—which translates directly into solving problems, creating solutions, and becoming a good team player.” Divided into seven sections, the text covers all sorts of games in all sorts of venues: ball, brain, solitary, car, card, group and partner. The format puts the name of the game (and its aliases), number of players, object and materials needed right at readers’ fingertips, summarizing the basic rules in an easy-to-follow paragraph and listing any additional rules, hints or tips in separate, bulleted sections. Most include variations to either modify the challenge or offer variety. “Fun Facts” sections are set off in black and scattered throughout, providing background on many old favorites (Bingo was invented in 1500s Italy), as well as some fascinating factoids (the stone-skipping world record is 51 skips!). Grayscale drawings break up the text and help illuminate some of the more difficult activities (string games, yo-yo tricks), though they also introduce a measure of modernity to what is largely a retro-themed book.
A wonderful resource for households, schools, Scouting groups and other organizations catering to kids. (index) (Nonfiction. 5 & up)