This is a series of books based on the game "20 Questions." Books A-1 and A-2 are intended for grades 4 through 6 while Books B-1 and B-2 are suggested for grades 7 through 12.
Each page has a short paragraph that on the surface seems to be impossible or a contradiction. The teacher reads the paragraph and then answers questions that the students ask to determine a situation where the reading would make sense. The directions given are fairly loose, but the teacher, or a student leader, needs to read the answers first (provided in the back of the book) to help guide the questioning. In general, the paragraphs toward the beginning of each book are easier, but as it may take a leap of intuition to solve them, there is no real need to proceed in order.
A Case of Red Herrings would be excellent to use as a game; it is a break from the traditional routine and best to use in a small group. For game use, participants should be junior high age at least (although there is no upper limit), because some of the situations depend on considering alternate meanings of a word. For example, "likeness," can mean "a portrait" or "a similarity in appearance." One of the cases revolves around making this distinction. Some of the answers are more farfetched than others, and a student might come up with a solution that is different from the one in the book, but which works equally well.
We had a lot of fun trying this out in our family. As the game does not depend on knowledge, but rather your ability to think creatively, it is a great way for less academically-oriented students to compete on an equal basis with those who are more academic. [Kath Courtney]