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Picturing a World

Cock Robin game

Over the years I've enjoyed collecting images to illustrate terms and allusions in Greer Gilman's Moonwise. For this year's reading, it was "Who'll dig his grave? I said, the owl," which comes from The Death and Burial of Cock Robin. What specially tickled me was discovering the Cock Robin Card Game published by Mcloughlin Brothers in the latter part of the 19th C. In brief, players first have to correctly identify the verse that goes with a picture or vice versa. Then when all the cards have been identified, the rules turn it into a sociable party game of forfeits. Right there historical fiction writers have a use for the tidbit.

But wait! What about having characters spend an evening making their own cards for a Cock Robin game? For a guessing game for younger siblings, they might illustrate various nursery rhymes or favorite children's book titles, some sort of variation on the Authors Game. They might invent their own game based on this one—using, perhaps, The Twelve Days of Christmas or Green Grow the Rushes-O. What about shuffling cards and telling a story? It's obviously nostalgia to imagine people actually gathering in person without fear of Covid or reliance on cellphones, but, hey! it's the Christmas season! Why not?
(And if you must, you can make it noir à la Krampus Krackers.)

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