Red Rover, Red Rover!: Games from an Irish Childhood (That You Can Teach Your Kids)

Remember knocking on a friend’s door and asking if they can come out to play? Remember hours upon hours spent outside playing Tip the Can, Donkey, and Conkers? Or the endless entertainment of playing Dots and Boxes in the back of a homework journal? If you do, then this charming guide to childhood games will bring back a flood of happy memories, and inspire you to share a piece of your past with a new generation. If you don’t, then you should read it for new ideas – after all, you’re never too old for your first game of Slaps!

McGann explains each game in beautifully clear language, and even provides strategy tips (don’t get distracted by the funky tunes during musical chairs – keep your eyes on the prize at all times) and physical risk assessments (Concentration has a 0/10 chance of injury, Red Rover has a 10/10 probability). Her sense of joy is contagious, and her wry humour had me laughing out loud in between bouts of nostalgia. Simple diagrams accompany any games that need them, and the black and white photos of children playing are genuinely heartwarming.

A practical instruction manual, comedic slice of life, and important piece of social history all rolled into one, Red Rover is a flawless execution of a great idea that I can’t recommend enough.