Before the Xbox and personal computer, before even electricity and batteries, children powered their fun with simple toys and made-up outdoor games. In nineteenth-century Appalachia, the region's mountainous landscape served as a magnificent playground for children. Among June bugs, crawdads, and evergreen conifers, children used their imaginations and creativity to develop some of history's most cherished pastimes.
In Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z, Linda Hager Pack presents an eloquent, educational, and entertaining depiction of playtime in nineteenth-century Appalachia. Featuring nearly thirty bright and whimsical watercolor illustrations by Pat Banks, this alphabetical sampling of traditional games, toys, and songs comes to life on the page. A beautifully illustrated and heartfelt look at the traditions, history, and life of the mountain south, Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z introduces young readers to a world of childhood leisure that is becoming increasingly uncommon while also providing an endearing look at a region with one of the oldest and most distinctive folk cultures in the United States.
Mountain children (and adults) had a rip-roaring good time playing with handmade toys. From apple dolls, a wrinkled toy carefully molded from Rome apples in the summer, to whimmydiddles, a toy carved by young boys on a stick with a spinner, Appalachian Toys and Games makes its way through the alphabet describing a multitude of children's playthings. The book includes familiar toys like marbles, slingshots and pick-up-sticks, as well as lesser-known toys such as limberjacks, Tom Walkers, and buzz buttons. Pack also provides instructions for making toys like ragdolls and noisemakers. Along with explanations of popular toys of the time, Pack includes folktales and anecdotes, such as the Iroquois legend of the corn husk doll and the interesting ways Appalachian children obtained their marbles.