Most of the material for this book was gathered fifty years ago in British schools, but I'm sure readers in all countries, for all time, will find it amusing and revealing. When I'd finished it, I felt I had a greater insight into children's minds and concerns, which they express, of course, in the games they play and the rhymes they say. I felt at the same time great respect for children. For unasked and unobserved, they have been keeping our traditions alive for us. Many of their dictums and ditties have changed little for hundreds of years. It seems that all the Barbies and Action Men and other expensive toys can't distract them from this valuable and enjoyable task of conservation.
Collected in the 50s, the Opies' LORE AND LANGUAGE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN is a compelling compendium of a world very similar to that of the 21st century but not quite. Americans will be particularly fascinated by the slight differences in customs and games among children across the Atlantic, as the Opies catalogue nicknames, rhymes, games, tricks, and half-believed superstitions and spells. fascinating reading.