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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 7, 2000
Ms. Jayne was an interesting woman in her day. She traveled about the world, gathering anthropological research as she documented string figures worldwide. This volume is the result of her work, all the more remarkable because she did this around the turn of the century.
Many figures are included here with instructions in the creation of them, as well as anecdotal information based on her interviews with the people who taught them to her. All of the classics of string figures are included here, as well as more obscure ones she gathered along the way. This is a must for serious students of string figures, not only for the wealth of information and instruction, but also for its historical value.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 1998
This book is a compendium of string figures with detailed instructions on how to make them and many illustrations. It is based largely on anthropological studies of the East Indies and that part of the world, although there are sections from Native American tribes and a few figures from Europe. My parents had a copy of this book when I was growing up and I was fascinated by it from ages 11 to about 15. I recommend it highly for anybody whose interests run in this direction.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2003
Once you master the language of manipulating the string--with a little patience-- you'll find the explanations easy to follow. The selection of string figures was wonderful. A strong collection --a legacy that has travelled throughout the world. Pass it along to your children.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 1998
This book is the classic guide to string figures. Nobody interested in the art should be without it; it's a fun and easy to learn hobby, as well as a fascinating anthropological study. Most everyone knows, or used to know, one or two of the simpler string games; this book presents string figures from all over the world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
When I was in middle school, my friend Scott and I occupied our time on the school bus by playing a string game called "Cat's Cradle." Although repetitive, it was a fun game; it took many hours of play before we finally grew tired of it. That game is one of many described in this book.
Until I read it, I was unaware of how many different string games there were in the cultures of the world. Korea, Japan, China, India, Borneo, the Philippines, Aleuts in Alaska, the Navahos of New Mexico, the Osage of Oklahoma, pygmies of the Congo, the Pacific island of Nauru, and Uap in the Caroline islands is just a partial list of the points of origin of the string games described in this book. The construction of each figure is explained using a sequence of diagrams.
If you are interested in string games from around the world, then you will find this book to be an excellent reference. Had I known of it when I was younger, Scott and I would never have grown tired of playing string games.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2007
I had a copy of this book as a child and bought this for my son who is 10. It's quite interesting, the instructions are easy to follow, and since we homeschool, it's made for some nice opportunities for geography and culture discussions. Adults could learn some of them for family-friendly parlor tricks at parties.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
Considered by many String Figure people to be the "Bible" in this field. It has easy to follow instructions using what has become standard nomenclature. This book is referenced in recent writings probably more than any other. Anyone with interest in String Figures should have this book in their collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I learned some string figures in my childhood and recently became interested again. I found this book on Amazon and promptly ordered it!

The book is quite fascinating. There is a huge collection of string figures which in themselves are interesting to look at and learn how to do. There is also a considerable amount of anthropological information (the author was after all an anthropologist) and some amazing photographs from around the turn of the 19th/20th century. In addition some of the stories and legends that go with these figures, many of which are very old indeed, are collected in the book with relevant figures.

My only complaint is that the string figures on the cover are from the collection of 20 or so at the end of the book for which no instructions are given because there wasn't time due to the book being in the final stages of publication! (Remember this was in the time long before computers). It's still however a collection which many can enjoy for all sorts of reasons.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 1999
Il est très complet et illustré. Toute personne qui s'intéresse aux jeux de ficelle progressera beaucoup avec lui. Ce n'est pas un livre pour débutant.
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on August 10, 2011
This is a wonderful and fascinating book documenting a remarkably interesting piece of human culture. The book is particularly important in that this piece of culture is, I fear, being lost in our zeal for electronic toys.

Please be aware, but do not be dissuaded, by the fact that this book was written circa 1900, well before the conventions of modern political correctness. The care with which these traditions are documented and the enthusiasm which they are celebrated by the author is a far clearer indication of the author's feelings towards non-Western societies than the fact that she lived at a time when it was common for Westerners to refer to non-Western society as "primitive."
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