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Chances are, you’ve heard of slingshots and rag dolls. But what about Tom walkers? Corn husk dolls? Limberjacks? Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z explores these favorite Appalachian toys and more.

T is for Tom Walkers


Also called “stilts” and “walking crutches,” Tom walkers were fashioned from sturdy trees. Learning to use them took lots of practice!

C is for Corn Husk Doll


Corn husk dolls have been around for centuries. Also known as faceless dolls, this toy was introduced to frontier settlers by the Iroquois Indians. According to Iroquois legend, there was once a very beautiful but also very vain corn husk doll. Rather than to do her chores, she would go into the woods and gaze at her reflection in the river. The Great Spirit God was angry with her. He sent a messenger to warn her, but she didn’t listen and so he had no choice but to punish her. He took away her beautiful face. These dolls and this story reminded Appalachian children to avoid vanity.

L is for Limber Jack


Limber jacks, or “jig dolls” as they’re called in Europe, are traditional wooden toys for children (and adults too)! With loose limbs, these dolls dance a jig on the end of a platform in imitation of a real step dancer.

Remember to enter for your chance to win a copy of Linda Hager Pack’s new book, illustrated with these and more vibrant watercolors by Pat Banks.


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