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Chess Rumble Hardcover – November 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584302798
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584302797
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“Lotsa things make me mad,” says young African American Marcus, who gets into fights at school and at home. Violence is all around: “In my ‘hood, / battles is fought every day.” And when he is hassled by bullies or by his little brothers, Marcus responds with his fists. Then his teacher sends him to the library, where he meets CM, a local chess master who teaches students to fight their battles on the board instead of the streets. In this strong debut, Marcus’ authentic voice narrates in potent, free-verse poetry. With minimal, direct words, Neri makes clear, without overstating, how Marcus’ sense of being misunderstood amplifies his frustrations and how, through chess, he learns to take responsibility for his feelings and actions. Watson effectively echoes each scene’s mood in small gray-tone paintings that employ dramatic shading. A deeply shadowed portrait of Marcus’ absent dad is particularly moving. Readers of all backgrounds will find themselves here, but this will have particular appeal among reluctant readers and young, inner-city teens. Grades 5-8. --Gillian Engberg

Review

`In my 'hood, battles is fought every day,' quips Marcus, an angry middle schooler on the brink of big trouble. His words, rife with frustration, tumble across page after page in free-flowing verse as he paints a picture of his quickly fading innocence. In the short time since his sister's death, memories of eating ice cream and giggling have been replaced by the bleak reality of a persistent bully, fist fights, and an absent dad. After begrudgingly meeting CM, Chess Master, the school's `bad dude' chess club adviser, an extended `battle' metaphor unfolds, concluding as Marcus takes responsibility for his own actions and moves his fighting off the street and onto the chessboard. . . . Chess Rumble works, and works well. Neri expertly captures Marcus's voice and delicately teases out his alternating vulnerability and rage. The cadence and emotion of the verse are masterfully echoed through Watson's expressive acrylic illustrations. Blacks, whites, and grays echo the concrete world of Marcus's urban home and, even more so, his despairing mood. Scattered chess pieces evoke the crescendo of the boy's temper. The closing scene tenderly catches tough-guy Marcus in a smile as he pounds fists with CM before sitting down to do battle, a stark contrast to his opening image, one dominated entirely by his fist. This book will become a standby pick for reluctant readers, who will be pulled in before they know it by the story's quick pace and the authenticity of Marcus's voice and experience. -- School Library Journal

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Customer Reviews

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Interesting idea, incredible story.
S. L. LaNeve
Reluctant male readers and chess-player wannabes from 8 years will enjoy this.
M. K. Buhler
Young readers will be able to relate to Marcus, everyone understands anger.
DAC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DAC VINE VOICE on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was published in 2007 and chosen has a quick pick for reluctant readers by American Library Association (ALA) There was much to love about Chess Rumble. This is Marcus's story told in verse. Marcus is filled with anger, after his sister's death and his dad leaving the family. He wants to fight everyone from his little brothers to his classmates. Latrell used to be Marcus's best friend, now they hate each other. Marcus is a big kid to get under his skin Latrell calls him names like Fat Albert. Marcus gets into a lot of trouble at school and his teacher, Ms. Tate is frustrated. Finally instead of the regular punishment, Ms Tate tries something new, introducing Marcus to CM. CM teaches young men to play chess, so they can fight it out on the board. This wasn't a quick fix, it still took time for Marcus to come around. It's one of the things I loved about Chess Rumble, its seems more realistic that Marcus would be hesitant to trying chess. Neri has created a very believable character in Marcus. Young readers will be able to relate to Marcus, everyone understands anger. Neri's writing is great, he does not waste a word.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Villagomez on January 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Originally posted on my blog: [...]
The book illustrates in verse the delicate balance of the different a little bit of forethought can make. Grieving for his sister's death and father's abandonment, Marcus' temper is on a short fuse. To make matters worse, whether he is to blame or not he is often held accountable for various problems, fueling his rage even more. A Chess Master is out to make him see that life, like chess depends on thinking three steps ahead in order to have success. I love so much about this book: the art, the alternating blackish gray pages with white text and white pages with black text, the message, and the verse format. I also appreciate the interaction leading to reconciliation between bully-victim with some guidance by adults.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Chess Rumble provides a gripping and moving account of an eleven-year old boy's struggles with living in poverty in a single-parent household after the death of his sister. Plagued by feelings of rage and provoked by his younger brothers' antics and the taunts of his classmate, Marcus uses his fists as a coping device. Of course fighting makes his problems worse to the point where he risks getting kicked out of school and having to leave home.

His bleak situation changes for the better when the school principal introduces Marcus to a chess master who has a program at the school that encourages troubled youth to fight their battles on the chessboard. Marcus does not take to the chess master or the program right away, but a particularly nasty fight and a visit to his sister's gravesite convince him to give the chess master another chance. Based on real inner-city enrichment programs that teach kids how to play chess, this book shows how a unique social program can help children to develop new skills, meet new people, and begin to overcome disadvantaged economic circumstances. This fast-paced and intriguing book is bound to hold the attention of most young readers as they get a good dose of important lessons in economics, sociology, and social policy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ellen Snodgrass on February 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A superb view of inner turmoil, this book speaks through street dialect a troubled boy's grief. Admirably illustrated and paced, the work deserves a space in libraries and in the hands of kids who are better at making fists than making amends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. K. Messner on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
G. Neri's CHESS RUMBLE is appealing to reluctant readers, especially boys, on a number of levels. Neri nails the voice of a boy growing up in the inner city in a way that's reminiscent of Walter Dean Myers. Neri's main character, Marcus, is a young man dealing with family troubles and fights at school, until he meets a powerful mentor and learns to fight his battles on a chessboard instead.

This novella in verse is full of language that's vivid and accessible, and Jesse Joshua Watson's illustrations in shades of black, brown, and gray help to set the mood. This one has serious kid-appeal -- not just for the kids who already love to read but for those who don't often find books on the library shelves that seem to be written for them. This one is.
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