Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club

Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club

Fall 2004 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Janet S Wong
Illustrator: Stacey Schuett
ISBN: 0689858906
Hardcover Price: $16.95
A charming book depicting how real kids develop into chess players, not as prodigies but as curious people who want to have fun. Adults often display ignorance at the role defeat plays in how kids engage chess. Sadly, chess is a game too often associated with “smart people”. Alex overcomes the chess stereotypes beautifully by playing when he wants to. Of course, he does get good advice from his chess coach too. The advice? Play, play, and then play some more. Along the way we learn important information about chess tournaments: they can be boring…sometimes, cheese puffs are welcome, if you bring enough for everyone. Always go to the bathroom BEFORE you play because some kids take a long time to move their pieces. Finally, most importantly, it’s okay to forfeit when you’re hungry. This book conveys the not unimportant message that playing competitive games need not involve a loss of self-esteem, and that sometimes, fun is more important than winning.

Stacey Schuett’s illustrations are competent; each child is a distinct character from a variety of backgrounds.

Drego Little   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Drego Little is a graduate student in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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