The Girl's Own Book

Books to Entertain

ntertainment for young and old was provided by books describing indoor and outdoor games and amusements. Books of puzzles, memory challenges, and fireside contests were usually written for an undifferentiated audience of boys, girls, and adults of both sexes. But as publishers began thinking in terms of distinct markets, publications for a female readership appeared: games designed for girls, DIY paper dolls, and books with patterns and instructions for domestic handicrafts.

The author of the Hieroglyphick Bible interspersed accounts of creation and salvation and moral passages from the Bible with rebuses — popular at the time in other children’s publications — in an attempt to interest children both in reading and in holy scriptures.
The Gaping Wide-Mouthed Waddling Frog is a memory game where players add a couplet on each repeat (like the "Twelve Days of Christmas") to build up to a 150-word long nonsense rhyme.
The Whim Wham exemplifies inexpensive books of riddles, anagrams, and word puzzles for a lone reader or a company; the “Enigmatical Bouquet” gives clues that produce the name of a flower. The answer to II is foxglove — see if you can figure out the rest!
Cousin Lively’s Picture Book of Nice Little Games for Nice Little Girls offers a variety of active games for inside play, as well as instructions for jumping rope, tag, and lawn bowling.
Paper Dolls and How to Make Them is the first American book on homemade versions of the toy; the anonymous author explains how “out of an old card, and a few bits of colored paper … a child can create for herself a world of enjoyment.”

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