Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Kites Kites

5.  American Boy's Book of Sports and Games: A Repository of In-and-Out-Door Amusements for Boys and Youth.  New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, ca. 1864.

5a.  Cartoon from Frank Leslie's Boy's and Girl's Weekly, volume 19, no. 485, p. 296.

In the nineteenth century, Americans preferred the square kite (a square with the two upper corners cut off) to the traditional English bow. The instructions in this book for making the classic American shape include four diagrams. The last one shows how to make slip knots into which rolled pieces of paper to balance the kite could be inserted every three inches down the tail string. The directions for attaching the tail to the kite, on the other hand, are minimal.  It's no wonder the little boys, like the one on the right, had trouble finishing their kites.