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*****= An all-time favorite
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****String Games

by Richard Darsie

Reviewed December 20, 2003.
Sterling Publishing, New York, 2003.  96 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J 793.9 DAR).

String Games is the most amazing book of string figures I have ever seen.  Instead of drawings, the figures are illustrated with clear photographs.  The beginning of the book outlines a clear and precise way of specifying exactly which string you are to use, and it uses these conventions all through the book.

When I was in about fourth grade, my friends and I spent hours on the playground doing the same approximately five different string figures.  We would have loved this book.  It includes 24 different figures, with three of them especially for two people.  I tried most of them out, and my only complaint is that what he calls “Easy” I would call hard.  As for what he calls “Medium”!  And he doesn’t admit that any of them are hard.  (How can you have only Easy and Medium, anyway?)

I did find that the more I did, the easier it got, so perhaps Richard Darsie can be forgiven for calling easy what a beginner finds difficult.  I was delighted with some of the complicated figures at the end of the book, especially the ones I was able to complete on the first try.

Another delightful feature of this book is that it includes tidbits about the practice of string figure making around the world.

If I were a kid again, I would definitely be memorizing some of these figures to do on the playground and teach to (or do with) my friends.  As it is, I had a lot of fun remembering, especially when doing Jacob’s Ladder.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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