The Foolish King by Mark Price

The Foolish King

Written by Mark Price
Illustrated by Martin Brown

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

In a nutshell: ingenious mix of horticulture, fairy tale – and chess!

What an inventive and clever introduction to chess! Mark Price takes an almost Lewis Carroll approach to explaining the game for children: the story begins in a fairytale where a misguided king is destroying his country’s ability to produce food. Two children escape into a magical other world to find help, and there become involved in a game of chess, played by and with insects. It may sound a bit nutty, but it works both as story and ‘how to’. The different piece’s moves are explained, with puzzles so that readers can practice, and it culminates in a demonstration game. There are cartoon pictures throughout by Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown which both add to the sense of fun, and make the rules of chess easier to grasp. And readers learn to cherish insects too. ~ Andrea Reece


The Foolish King by Mark Price

Long, Long ago when kings ruled the land, dragons filled the sky and magic still existed, two children stumbled upon the game of chess. This is your chance to play it with them ...Packed with interactive puzzles and games, join Pip and Holly on a magical fairy-tale adventure and become a chess master.

The Foolish King app for iPhone and iPad is free and available to download now from iTunes.

Find out more about the book and learning to play chess at


One of the most entertaining and inventive introductions to chess ever created. The Lancashire Evening Post

This is a very clever book ... Rusty parents should sneak a read! The Independent

I loved the idea of going back and creating a new history for chess that both catches the imagination … The story is perfectly accompanied by Martin Brown’s illustrations and in addition to promoting playing chess (obviously!) it has an ecological theme running through it. This is a multifaceted book! - Powered by Reading blog

An exciting romp of an adventure story that would be wonderful to read aloud to children ... I don't think I need to introduce Martin Brown and his stunning illustrations elevate The Foolish King to the next level. As always, he really brings the story to life and helps to make this book a gorgeous entry onto anybody's bookshelves. - Writing from the Tub

The Foolish King is a great story. I feel fortunate that the writer decided to share his creativity and write this book for all families to enjoy. Kids aged 8+ would not find a more interesting way to learn chess than reading through the storyline and solving the practice boards. -;

About the Author

MARK PRICE joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1982. He spent 17 years on the board of Waitrose, becoming Managing Director in 2007, holding this post until 2016. He was also Deputy Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 2013. Mark was appointed Chairman of Business in the Community in 2011 and Chairman of the Prince's Countryside Fund in 2010. In 2016, he was made Minister of State for Trade and Investment and a life peer. Mark will publish a number of books for children and adults during 2016 and beyond. MARTIN BROWN came to the UK in 1982 as a backpacking antipodean and never left. He is the illustrator of the hugely successful Horrible Histories, which have sold over 20 million copies. Martin has also illustrated Philip Pullman's New Cut Gang, and written and illustrated Lesser Spotted Animals.

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Book Info


80 pages


Mark Price
More books by Mark Price


David Fickling Books

Publication date

6th July 2017




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