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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forgotten games
This book brings back all the memories of childhood and school playgrounds. Remember the one about Adam and Eve and Nip-me-Well or any other version, well they are all in there. The Opie's went around the UK in the 1950's collecting rhymes, games, riddles - all the little bits of speech that we as adults forget. As well as being an anthology, the authors...
Published on 11 Mar. 2006 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A child's world before television
Finished in 1959, this study preserves the culture of the playground, handed down from older child to younger child with no adult interference for hundreds of years, before the lowest common denominator of television eroded its separate, hidden distinctiveness. No doubt much has survived till the present day, but only those fresh from the playground will know; adults lose...
Published on 3 Feb. 2012 by Peasant


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forgotten games, 11 Mar. 2006
This book brings back all the memories of childhood and school playgrounds. Remember the one about Adam and Eve and Nip-me-Well or any other version, well they are all in there. The Opie's went around the UK in the 1950's collecting rhymes, games, riddles - all the little bits of speech that we as adults forget. As well as being an anthology, the authors provide an insight to the history of these games as well as some discussion as to the ways the children use them - obviously rhymes can be used to tease as well as please. Readers of today should also be aware that this book was written in the 1950's and as such contains both out of date material, and perhaps somewhat controversial jokes. Overall, however, this book is a gem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A child's world before television, 3 Feb. 2012
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Finished in 1959, this study preserves the culture of the playground, handed down from older child to younger child with no adult interference for hundreds of years, before the lowest common denominator of television eroded its separate, hidden distinctiveness. No doubt much has survived till the present day, but only those fresh from the playground will know; adults lose this suddenly-obsolete body of folklore, social behaviour and superstition very rapidly when they hit adolescence.

Fossilised in the closed world of children, medieval superstition, eighteenth century political satire and music hall ribaldry blend seemlessly into a new cadre of rhyme and nonsense featuring the stars of film and radio, the skits of wartime humour and the politics of the day, all garbled through the half-comprehending medium of the child's eye view. It is a fascinating, sprawling body of material.

The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, along with other work by the Opies, set the standard for a new type of inward-looking anthroplogy. It is no surprise, therefore, that it is a turgid read at times. The authors are concerned that their apparently trivial subject should be accepted with the seriousness which it undoubtedly merited. Any sparkle in the book comes from the loopy daftness of the rhymes and the pure gold of the unedited child voice. I do not know that the book could have been produced differently at the time, but it isn't something you could sit down and read from cover to cover for pleasure unless you were unusually sober in your tastes. For most readers, better to dip in and out.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic record of childhood culture, 9 Oct. 2009
By 
Peter Biddlecombe "peterbiddlecombe" (Bucks, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I have fond memories of reading this book as a middle-class Home Counties teenager and feeling jealous of the fun had by working class kids with some of the japes described here. Back in the 1950s most kids had no television and formed their own culture. Iona and Peter Opie recorded it using thorough methods but produced a very entertaining book, with little gems on every page and much of the information direct from the children, with occasional wisely scholarly notes from the Opies - a mocking rhyme about a chemistry teacher is "a direct transmogrification of traditional lines spoken of old by the yuletide mummers". Here are some samples from random page openings:

The sausage is a cunning bird
With feathers long and wavy;
It swims about the frying pan
And makes its nest in gravy
Boy, 12, Newcastle upon Tyne (in Nonsense Rhymes in the Just for fun chapter)

Underneath the spreading chestnut tree
Mr. Chamberlain said to me,
If you want to get your gas-mask free,
Join the blinking A.R.P.
(in the Topical Rhymes chapter relating to events of 1938, but "fourteen years later this verse was re-collected from girls in Aberdeen [...] [who] had not been born when the Munich pact was signed".

'When you play "Ring the bell,Susie" you tie a piece of string to one woman's bell and the other end to another woman's door handle and then you ring the woman's bell that has the piece of string on the handle and then you hide. When she opens the door it rings the womans bell and when she opens her door she shuts the other woman's door then she opens her door it rings the womans bell then she opens her door it shuts the other womans door and it goes on like that for a long time.' (description by a 12-year old in the Pranks chaper)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, 18 Mar. 2011
By 
D. Spark (leeds) - See all my reviews
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My late mother, a deputy headmistress at a primary scool read about this book in Child Education in the early 1960's and asked me to order it from our local library. She found it a wonderful book and when I readd the title decided to buy a copy for myself. She died several years ago.
When IU read parts of it i realised why she liked it so much; it is truly a marvelous book and well worth buying.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 25 Nov. 2013
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Nozzy (Bingley, UK) - See all my reviews
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The history and origins of the rhymes/sayings are really interesting and so are the regional differences. Husband and I are from different parts of this country and have compared what we used in those 'long ago' school days. A fascinating book, but not one you could read from cover to cover! As another reviewer says, probably best to dip in and out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 25 Oct. 2013
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This is a classic book in the field of children's folklore. My paperback copy, purchased in 1969, is falling to pieces from regular use. What better way to celebrate the 90th birthday of Iona Opie this month than to invest in a hardback edition?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Dec. 2014
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A classic. I had forgotten all about this book until I was sent an ad for it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, brought many childhood memories, 8 Mar. 2015
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Excellent book,brought many childhood memories back
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, 20 Jun. 2014
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This is now dated, but a wonderful book about children' stamens and rituals. I'd forgotten about 'fainites' until I read it - and it brought back many memories of childhood games, which I'd forgotten. Seems sad that modern children are missing out on so many of these traditional games and building the social interactions that they encouraged. Recommended
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE LORE AND LANGUAGE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN, 8 Sept. 2009
By 
Mr. D. J. WESTON "norman knight" (Derby,England) - See all my reviews
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Because I'm making a study of Childhood, I find a lot of interesting information in this book, the only question I keep posing myself,is whether I should just select chapters when I need them rather than starting at the beginning of the book and following through to the end.
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The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren
The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren by Peter Opie (Hardcover - 1959)
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