Remember how to make a spool tank? How to whip apples? What to do with a discarded umbrella? Whether "pennies" comes before or after "spank the baby" in mumbly-peg? And your kid never knew any of these things in the first place, to forget in the second place? Robert Paul Smith remembers, and he has set it down for all to see -- these things and many others, like rubber-band guns, and slings, and clamshell bracelets, and the collection, care, and use of horse-chestnuts. This book frees children from video games for a few hours, a handbook on the avoidance of boredom, a primer on solitude -- a child's declaration of independence. It reveals "how to do nothing with nobody all alone by yourself" -- real things, fascinating things, the things that we and our parents did as kids. It's a book for kids, but parents are not prohibited from reading it.
Robert Paul Smith is the author of the best-selling Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. and of the novels So It Doesn't Whistle, The Journey, Because of My Love, and The Time and the Place. Smith was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, and graduated from Columbia College in 1936. He worked as a writer with CBS Radio. Paul Collins is a writer specializing in history, memoir, and unusual antiquarian literature. His nine books have been translated into eleven languages, and include Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books (2003) and The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars (2011). Collins lives in Oregon, where he is chair and professor of English at Portland State University.