Parents' Guide to

The Foolish King

By Christy Matte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Clever story introduces kids to the game of chess.

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This is an engaging introduction to the rules of chess paired with a one- or two-player version of the game, but users must be able to read well. The story of The Foolish King is somewhat long, with simply colored artwork and some important messages about the delicate harmony among people, plants, and animals (including insects). It explains chess as a game created by the insects and based on the moves that different insects make. While the connection is a bit of a stretch, it may help kids more easily remember the moves for each piece, as well as some basic strategy. The chess game itself, which has three difficulty levels, will provide hints for where pieces can move as well as hints for where you should move your pieces. Without any deeper explanation of the hints, it's not terribly useful as a learning tool, but it's helpful for kids who aren't sure what to do next. The story also has some gameplay strategy, such as holding certain pieces for later in the game, but it would be helpful to have a bit more guidance for new players. It also would be great to have the option to listen to the story, since some interested kids might stop short at all the reading. Other than that, this is a nice way to get kids engaged in chess, especially if they have a more knowledgeable friend or family member to fill in some of the blanks.

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