The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Book Reviews

folk toys, folk games, and essays on toys and games. Anyone who grew up in
Texas at a time when ingenuity was more abundant than money, and "store-
bought" toys were reserved for special occasions, will treasure this book. Folk
toys are defined as "those that are made with natural or available materials by
amateurs in the tradition of the area's culture and ancestors and for personal
rather than mercantile reasons" (p. i). Before the advent of plastic, computer
chips, and batteries, Texans recycled tin cans, shoe-polish lids, inner tubes,
Kraft cheese boxes, wooden spools, clothes pins, spare wheels, and odd bits of
lumber, straw, and reed to make stilts, swings, tree houses, scooters, go-carts,
whistles, wagons, and dolls. The recollections of the contributors, together with
the clear illustrations and photographs, will enable the reader, if so inclined, to
build folk toys for another generation of children.
Children, as Philippe Aries reminded us, "form the most conservative of all
societies" (Centuries of Childhood, p. 64). His point is amply supported by the
persistence of folk games across centuries and cultures. Texans were immi-
grants, and they came with more memories than objects. Among their memo-
ries were those games, such as London Bridge and Prisoner's Base, which chil-
dren have played for hundreds of years. In Texas, Spanish-speaking children
played La Puerta Esta Quebrada (The Door is Broken), a variant of London
Bridge. Children today are still jumping rope to ancient cadences and threat-
ening to dislocate their shoulders and bruise their bones with such old favorites
as Pop-the-Whip and Red Rover. If you have forgotten the rules-children are
sticklers for rules-or can no longer recall the rhymes, you will rediscover
them all again in Texas Toys and Games. In a section on the tree houses of Austin,
David Sharpe writes, "Like childhood itself, the affair a child has with a tree
house is ephemeral, quick, and over before you know it" (p. 98). As with tree
houses, so, too, with all the toys and games of childhood so splendidly evoked
in this book, a work that will reward students of Texas folklore as well as please
the child in every reader.
University of Texas at Austzn PATRICIA S. KRUPPA
The City BeautzJul Movement. By William H. Wilson. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1989. Pp. x+365. Introduction, tables, photographs,
maps, notes, note on sources, acknowledgments, index. $38.50.)
That the most comprehensive survey of the City Beautiful movement, to
date, would begin with a chapter on Frederick Law Olmsted, who is often por-
trayed as one of its early opponents, attests to the sweep and originality of a
volume that has recently been awarded the Lewis Mumford Prize as the best
book in American planning history by the Society for American City and Re-
gional Planning History.
The Olmsted chapter, which evaluates the munificent legacy that he be-
queathed to the City Beautiful, introduces "Origins and Ideology," the first of
the book's four parts. In this section, which makes up almost a third of the en-
tire volume, Wilson also relates the connections between various late nineteenth-
century municipal improvement efforts and the City Beautiful, challenges

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed November 26, 2014.