LEAPFROG, my book that first came out in 2019, is in the final stages for its THIRD EDITION release. It’s been a labor of love, just as my memoir was. From the start, I’ve wanted this book to do good work, to help bring about change, and to sell. The improvements I’ve made, thanks to all the feedback I’ve been receiving, will help to do just that, I believe.
One suggestion that came my way recently is that I offer a brief explanation to my readers of just what the old fashioned game of leapfrog is about: the rules, the object, the history.
So I googled it.
Well, I used “duck-duck-go” but how do I turn that one into a verb?
My first surprise was that leapfrog, in its many variations, has been around since the late 1500s. I also learned that Americans seem to be the only ones to leap over a frog. In France it’s a sheep; in Romania, Holland, and China it’s a goat; in India, a horse; and in the Philippines it’s a cow. Yes, leapcow, leapsheep, and leapgoat thrive around the globe.
With a few exceptions that I’ll get to in a bit, the game remains essentially the same around the world. Whoever goes first places their hands on their knees, bends over and “gives a back” to the next participant, inviting them to place their hands on the bent over back and jump, legs spread wide apart. Once over without touching, they then place their hands on their knees and “give a back.” And on it goes, inching forward sometimes in a straight line, sometimes not so straight.
This, I thought, was an ideal metaphor for my book, subtitled How to hold a civil conversation in an uncivil era.
This whimsical cover design from reader Sharon Lippincott back in 2017 pushed me forward to turn my eight blog posts into a book:
Two people. That’s what I had in mind. What I didn’t realize is that the number of participants playing leapfrog is not fixed. Some descriptions contained more than a dozen, forming a line as tightly connected as possible. Another description included rising up from the bend as each round of the game goes on until, finally, someone bumps the person and is disqualified.
In the game I remembered as a child, the object was to take turns as we moved forward some distance, sometimes in a straight line and other times not so much. This was the image I held when LEAPFROG, the book, was born.
How about you?
Did you play leapfrog when you were growing up? How well does this metaphor work for the purpose of my acronym?