The People in the Playground

by Iona Opie | Biographies & Memoirs | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 0198112653 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingPlum-crazywing of Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on 9/4/2017
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingPlum-crazywing from Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, September 04, 2017
This rather comprehensive blurb was taken from goodreads;
For nearly forty years Iona Opie worked with her husband, Peter, on a notable series of books on the traditional lore of childhood, among them Children's Games in Street and Playground, The Singing Game, and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. As part of her fieldwork, she visited a local school playground every week, where she would write down events exactly as they happened, and conversations exactly as they were spoken. The result of these many years of observation, The People in the Playground is a startlingly honest portrait of children at play, at once charming and hilarious, alarming and poignant, and full of infectious vitality.

Here we meet the children of the Junior School playground in Liss--their favorite games, their silliest jokes, their engaging personalities. Opie provides much insight into children's play and human behavior: why crazes begin and stop so suddenly; the reasons for popularity and unpopularity; the ways in which new lore arrives on the playground; the unconcerned killing in the perennial game of "War"; or the tender commiseration for a friend who has stubbed his toe. She follows individual children week by week: the bully and his victim; the intellectual who would rather read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland than join in the games himself; the girl whose tragic home life can be forgotten as she plays a ring game; or the boy who is obsessed with gorillas. A group of boys offer Opie their version of tag ("There's someone got hayfever, right? He catches another one and they get hayfever. And they get tagged by someone who's free and they're all right.") A young girl asks why Opie is writing everything down, and then presents her own rendition of "Popeye the Sailors Man" for the record. And on a rainy day unsuitable for their regular games, a vivacious child offers her very best jokes: "I'm the one who tells you jokes--ta ra! Here's another one. What's the most unfortunate letter in the alphabet? Will you write it down, please. I like you writing them down," she says to Opie and continues, "The letter U--because whenever there's trouble you always find U in the middle of it."

No one has previously attempted to describe and record life in a playground while it is actually happening. In these pages are rich and startling portraits of children at play: their art of storytelling, the friendships and enmities, the excited interest in sex, the diversity of characters, and above all, the hilarity which pervades the playground, creating entertainment out of trivialities.

Journal Entry 2 by wingPlum-crazywing at Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, April 05, 2021
I've had a copy of Opie's "The Lore & Language of Schoolchildren" for nigh on forty years & always loved reading of the similarities & discrepancies in children's games & rhymes up & down the country. This differs in that the book revolves around the children in one particular school playground covering the school years January 1978 through to summer 1980. My own time in infant & junior school was late 1960s, early 1970s so I was looking forward to see if the games were much different a decade on.

The blurb tells you all you need to know about the content & format....& it literally is Opie writing everything down that she sees & hears. This diary-style writing came over flat & uninspiring to my mind, the noise, the clamour & general hurly-burley I'd associate with playgrounds was lacking.

Many of the clapping & skipping games, & some of the rhymes I remembered but they didn't invoke the nostalgia I expected. I found some of the footnotes a bit odd but then the references they related to were well known to me &,I suspect, to almost everyone of my generation. While I can see that those of a younger age or indeed a different nationality might find them useful, I can't see this book having much appeal to them in the first place.

Overall, a reasonable read for those, that like me, were at school around this time but a monotonous & rather dry recounting means it lacks the charm it could have had.

Released 4 wks ago (4/13/2021 UTC) at by mail / post / courier, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


On its way to dolph1n - enjoy!

Journal Entry 4 by dolph1n at Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Thursday, April 15, 2021
Thank you. This looks really interesting.

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