May 4, 2015 Groundwood Books

Crokinole! Play with the Tweedles and Monica Kulling

Crokinole-board

It has been suggested that crokinole is the secret star (thank you, Carolyn!) of The Tweedles Go Online. The vintage board game keeps the Tweedle family entertained and happy in each other’s company. It also, ultimately, restores the peace. Can one ask for more from a tabletop parlour game?

The year is 1903, and the good-natured Tweedles are bound and determined to follow the inventive trends of the day. When not tooling around in their electric car (see The Tweedles Go Electric), they are engaged in a boisterous (and somewhat newly invented) game called “crokinole.” Eckhardt Wettlaufer, of Sebastopol, Ontario, devised the game in 1876. It was likely named after a crunchy French cookie, croquignole, and was once one of the most popular game in North America!

How do you play crokinole? The game centers on a wooden board with a hole in the middle and discs that each player must flick into the centre hole while trying to displace the other players’ discs. Attaining any level of proficiency requires tremendous eye-hand coordination and a gentle touch — skills young Franny clearly possesses, but Mama does not.

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Why crokinole? When asked to write a second adventure for the Tweedles, I had only one puzzle piece — the telephone. Then, over coffee with Sheila, the sparks flew! Suddenly, I was searching for the word “crokinole.” I didn’t know the game. I’d never met it. The word — that is, only the first syllable — popped into my head. “It’s cro … cro … you know, that game.” “Crokinole,” responded Sheila. Well, I haven’t yet played the game, but I still love the word. It has become, as it is for Frankie, my rallying cry. “Crokinole!”

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The Tweedles Go Online

 

Monica Kulling is the author of over forty books for children, including The Tweedles Go Electric and The Tweedles Go Online as well as the popular Great Idea series, stories of inventors. Going Up! Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top, the fourth in the series, was a finalist for the 2013 Norma Fleck Non-Fiction Award. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto, Canada. Visit her at www.monicakulling.com.

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