Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Special Delivery: Penguins!

This blog may languish unloved for a few days until after Christmas.

We're pretty much ready for Christmas, although we've got to put the finishing touches on a board game we're making for my nephew, called "Special Delivery: Penguins!" The premise is that some penguins that Stacey ordered for me have accidentally been delivered to my nephew's house instead, and it's his job to bring them to our house.

We thought of this project after playing The Uncle Wiggily Game with my nephew at Thanksgiving. Based on a series of early-twentieth-century children's books by Howard Garis about a rheumatic rabbit and his forest friends, the board game is simple: cards you draw tell you how many spaces to move toward Doctor Possum's office. Along the way, you encounter forest creatures good and bad.

In our game, there are cards, but there are also penguins, and obstacles such naps and the New Harmony Bridge. There are snacks, and there's a copy of War and Peace, which players take turns reading, then heartily recommending to other players.

In past years, we've made my nephew a couple of children's books. But by "we," what I really mean is that Stacey and I hashed out ideas, then I got her cups of hot tea while she drew and painted for days. This project has been much closer to a true collaboration, with both of us pitching in on all aspects of the game. It's been a lot of fun to make.

I hope he enjoys it. We played through it Sunday with kindly volunteers, and we certainly had a good time. If a seven-year-old will . . . well, I guess we'll know on Christmas.

Have a great holiday, everyone. I hope you find lots of good books under your tree.

PS According to the Wonderful Wikipedia, Howard Garis, working for the Stratemeyer Syndicate wrote not only the Uncle Wiggily books, but under house names he wrote the Tom Swift series and most of the Bobbsey Twins books.

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