The Foolish King

With Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown on board, you know you can expect fun and irreverent accompaniments to the text, and this doesn’t disappoint. Mark Price, the current Minister of State for Trade and Investment in the UK, was prompted to write this for his daughter to teach her to play chess.

It is a mixture of fantastical story and instruction guide, set in the magical kingdom of Stur, governed by a benign king called Malla, who has a wonderful garden tended to by a faithful gardener, Mr Perry. When Malla’s son Parip accedes to the throne, his heartless, cruel ways drive all the insects away. Holly and Pip Perry are determined to save the plants and get the insects back, leading to a very exciting chess challenge with the ants and bees!

The illustrations are fantastic and bring to life the more instructional aspects of the story, helping prevent it being just a technical manual. Children who play chess or who are keen to find out more about it will find this invaluable, and there will also be an iPad app for children aged six and above, consisting of tips, techniques and online games.

The story has sound ethical and moral messages, namely that everything in the ecosystem plays a part. Without insects, there would be no pollination/ plants/ vegetation / food. Those in positions of responsibility should not abuse their power.

Highly recommended for all aspiring chess champions aged 6 +