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Readers who play Dungeons and Dragons or the card game Magic may be surprised to discover that the drama behind chess is similar to the games they enjoy. A magical wind blows a young boy onto a chessboard, where the kings and queens send him on a mission to find the Gamemaster, with the help of an amulet belonging to one of the queens. The young hero meets all the other chess pieces in their human forms--pawns, rooks, knights, bishops. When no Gamemaster appears at the end of his travails, the boy turns to the amulet; it is a mirror and he is the Gamemaster. The ending of John Bochak's first book is clich‚d and the underlying message--that chess schools players in self-knowledge--is fairly subtle for the picture book crowd. They will be busy with the animated cut-paper collage illustrations: a mix of marbled and colored papers that recall a romanticized Middle Ages, where pawns are miraculously clean-shaven and class distinctions vanquished. This interesting fantasy neither recreates the history of chess nor provides a satifying alternative to role-playing games.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster