Work & Play: The Finger Plays of Edith Goodyear Alger
Cover image for SOURCE: Spring 2019, featuring an image of Alice in Wonderland.

How to Cite

Kuka, Chloe. 2019. “Work & Play: The Finger Plays of Edith Goodyear Alger”. SOURCE 1 (02).


The desire to make learning fun clearly motivates Edith Goodyear Alger’s two poetry pieces, “Finger Play” and “Monday.” A masterful blend of poetry and visual art produced in collaboration with illustrator Albertine Randall Wheelan and published in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1895, these poems are as edifying as they are entertaining. The lines of simple poetry show children that the chore of washing clothes can be framed as a game, while the lively illustrations of gestures for children to perform while they read, termed finger plays, cultivate imagination by encouraging children to see the “little space ‘twixt fingers & thumbs” as a penny or a cookie.

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