CHESS RUMBLE by G. Neri

CHESS RUMBLE

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

“Battles is fought every day” in 11-year-old Marcus’s ’hood. Not only has his father abandoned the family, but his sister has recently died, leaving him frustrated, angry and ready to fight—even with his worried, red-eyed mother and his younger twin brothers. Just as his volatility starts to get him into real trouble, Marcus meets a Yoda-like chess master and ex-con in the school library who challenges him to a game of chess. At first, Marcus’s “opening move” is to hurl the chessboard groundward, but in time, he learns to master the game—and his temper. Marcus tells his story in street slang, in a conversational first-person voice. (While the narrative is presented as free verse, the lines break more randomly than poetically.) The acrylic black-and-white illustrations are particularly effective at capturing natural expressions and the concrete-gray inner-cityscape, though the abundant chess imagery that surfaces in unlikely places feels overdone. There’s plenty of powerful emotion here, but the heavy dose of life lessons leaves the overall effort a few moves short of a checkmate. (Fiction/poetry. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58430-279-7
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Lee & Low
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2007




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