Chess! I Love It! I Love It! I Love It!

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Some of the second graders in Mrs. Zookey’s class have a new interest: chess. Vice principal Mr. E (and he is something of a mystery) has started a chess club, and Richard, Ben, Ophelia, and Patrick are all members. As usual, Patrick is a nuisance, and so Richard isn’t at all happy when Mr. E tells him that he and Patrick are alike. It’s true that to become better chess players, both of them need to learn to concentrate and to plan ahead. And Richard is determined to get better ...

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Overview

Some of the second graders in Mrs. Zookey’s class have a new interest: chess. Vice principal Mr. E (and he is something of a mystery) has started a chess club, and Richard, Ben, Ophelia, and Patrick are all members. As usual, Patrick is a nuisance, and so Richard isn’t at all happy when Mr. E tells him that he and Patrick are alike. It’s true that to become better chess players, both of them need to learn to concentrate and to plan ahead. And Richard is determined to get better at chess, even if it means putting up with Patrick’s shenanigans.
With on-target themes like competition, teamwork, and loyalty, plus a dash of magic and a generous helping of chess facts, this new Table Two adventure is the kind of lively, funny school story that only Jamie Gilson can tell.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richard finds his neighbor and second-grade classmate Patrick annoying. Even in chess club, Patrick manages to get under Richard's skin. But as members of the team representing their school at a tournament, they must try to set aside their differences, at least temporarily. Gilson shows a sound knowledge of grade-school psychology in this entertaining chapter book from the Table Two series. Each of the six chapters includes full-page illustration, not seen in final form. The jacket art reflects the upbeat tone of both the story and its memorable tale, which is a cheer shouted at chess club meetings."—Booklist

"In this chapter book, four second graders from Mrs. Zookey's class find the after-school Chess Club exciting, challenging, and fun. At each meeting the students shout, "I love it I love it I love it!" Although the story includes issues such as competition and friendship-Richard and Patrick often butt heads-it will probably be most interesting to readers who already know the game. There is an abundance of chess talk, yet how to play is never explained. Humorous, full-page illustrations appear throughout. More demanding than most early chapter books, this is an additional purchase for older reluctant readers."—School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Joan Elste
Patrick is making trouble right from the get-go. Richard, his main target and fellow second grader, tells the reader this fact right from the beginning. Patrick seems to be set on getting Richard in trouble with Mr. E, the vice principal of Sumac School and creator of the Chess Club which meets Mondays after school. So begins this charming, hysterical story of rival classmates who must work together against all odds during a chess tournament with Maple School. The word play and action between the two boys is realistic. Mr. E tells the children that chess isn't a game of tricks but of careful planning. He tells both boys that they are very much alike in that they need to plan ahead and learn to concentrate. This news is not to their liking—not one bit. The interactions between all of the characters in this fun read is so natural and funny that the book holds the reader's attention from the very beginning. This is a great read for kids and includes a wonderful twist at the ending. I love it I love it I love it! Reviewer: Joan Elste
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4- In this chapter book, four second graders from Mrs. Zookey's class find the after-school Chess Club exciting, challenging, and fun. At each meeting the students shout, "I love it I love it I love it!" Although the story includes issues such as competition and friendship-Richard and Patrick often butt heads-it will probably be most interesting to readers who already know the game. There is an abundance of chess talk, yet how to play is never explained. Humorous, full-page illustrations appear throughout. More demanding than most early chapter books, this is an additional purchase for older reluctant readers.-Sarah O'Holla, Village Community School, New York City

Kirkus Reviews
Sumac School second-grader Richard and pesky rival Patrick from Gotcha! (2006) return with the rest of Mrs. Zookey's class. Patrick seems to have learned little; he still glories in causing problems and puffing himself up by telling lies. Many of the students have joined Mr. Economopoulos's after-school chess club (the kids call the prestidigitating assistant principal "Mr. E"). As they prepare for their first tournament against the other elementary schools in the area, Richard struggles with a lack of confidence and a fear that he's too much like irritating Patrick in his lack of concentration. The team, including Patrick, pull together and perform well with the promise of future victories. The fifth volume in Gilson's Kids at Table Two series offers more of the same: light fare for the transition out of easy readers. Though the emotions are genuine, the characters are stiff. Mostly for fans of the series and as a read-aloud to classes learning to play chess. (Fiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618977901
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/17/2008
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jamie Gilson is the author of many successful books for children, among them Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub; Hello, My Name Is Scrambled Eggs; and the Hobie Hanson stories. The previous Table Two books, most recently Gotcha!, were also published by Clarion. Ms. Gilson lives in Wilmette, Illinois; she has grown children and several amazing grandchildren. For more information visit www.jamiegilson.com.

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Read an Excerpt

One Yucky

“Owwwww!” Patrick cried. He grabbed his arm and rolled under the playground slide. “You made me fall! You’re gonna get it, Richard! Owwwwwww!” he went, louder. But he was faking. I could tell.
I jumped off the swing. “You saw me pumping,” I told him. “You ran right in front of my feet. On purpose!” “Did not!” he said.
“Did, too!” I said right back.
“You will definitely get it,” he told me. “You cracked my elbow! See?” He stood up and showed me his arm. It was a little tiny bit red.
The first bell rang. All the kids on the playground headed inside. Patrick was hugging his arm like it would fall off. Now he was limping. “I’m gonna tell,” he said. Patrick likes getting kids in trouble, especially me. “I’ll tell Mr. E and he’ll get you. Big time.” Mr. E is vice principal at Sumac School. If you do something bad—like if you sneak a worm in somebody’s lunch or, maybe, crack a kid’s elbow—you get sent to Mr. E. I’ve never been sent to Mr. E’s office.
Patrick has. Patrick is trouble. He’s been in Mr. E’s office three times. He always comes back smiling. He can talk his way out of trouble. That’s why I was scared. What if Mr. E really believed I’d messed up Patrick’s elbow? I followed Patrick. I hoped he wouldn’t, but he headed for Mr. E’s office. The door was open.
Two third graders raced past us. We had to jump out of their way.
“Freeze!” a voice behind us shouted. I froze. Patrick froze. All the kids in the hall froze. The voice was huge. It belonged to Mr. E.
“We. Do. Not. Run. In. The. Hall.” the voice went, slow and quiet. “It is clearly dangerous.” Nobody made a sound.
“Will the two boys who sped past my door come here. Now. Everyone else,” he went on, “continue as you were.” We unfroze and watched the two kids shuffle back toward Mr. E’s office. I was glad I wasn’t them.
Patrick hugged his arm again. “You just wait,” he whispered. We walked very slowly down the hall.
Patrick had stopped limping. I waved to some kids in the other second-grade classroom. Then I threw my jacket in my locker. Just as the last bell rang, we headed into Mrs. Zookey’s room. She’s our teacher.
Patrick sat right down at Table Three.
I sit at Table Two. When I walked past, he stuck out his foot and tried to trip me. He tries that a lot, but he never gets me. I always hop over it.
All through the Pledge and lunch count he held his arm. Then it was time for Yummys and Yuckys. We do them every Monday. If Mrs. Zookey calls on you and you tell a good thing, that’s a Yummy. A bad thing is a Yucky.
Patrick leaned his chair back toward me. “Watch this,” he said. He raised his good arm high. “Me! Me!
Me first!” he called. “I’ve got a Yucky.” He looked straight at me. “I’ve got a terrible, stinky, awful Yucky!” “No, Mrs. Zookey, me!” said Dawn Marie.
She raised her arm higher than Patrick’s.
But Mrs. Zookey went first. “Here’s a sweet-smelling Yummy.” She held up a bunch of big red roses. “All this month, we’ll be learning about flowers. I expect you can smell these from here.” She smiled, like that was the all-time best Yummy.
When Mrs. Zookey looked away, Patrick held his nose. “Flowers are for girls,” he whispered. Some kids leaned toward the roses. I sniffed. Smelled good to me.
My friend Ben sits next to me at Table Two. He had his hand up, and I knew why.
His dad got him a very cool bike horn that looks like Godzilla, and he wanted to tell about it. It raises its paws and roars. GROAAARRR!
Mrs. Zookey looked at all the hands. I hoped she would pick Ben or Dawn Marie. “Me!” Patrick called again. “Please, please, me!” He waved both arms. He looked like a duck taking off from a lake.
“Oh, Patrick,” said Mrs. Zookey. “So much energy. Indeed, you were the first to ask. Next time, though, you will sit still and listen. Do you hear?” Patrick smiled. He didn’t care about next time. This time, he had won. That’s what he thought. He was flapping his arms like crazy. Both of them. “Patrick,” I whispered, “how’s your elbow? Is it cracked?” He grabbed his arm quick, but it was too late.
“Go ahead, Patrick,” Mrs. Zookey said.
“Tell us your terrible, stinky, awful Yucky.” He bit his lip. “On the playground,” he started.
I waved both my arms, just like he had.
“On the playground,” he started again, “Richard made me fall down and—” “By accident,” I said.
“Oh,” said Mrs. Zookey. “I’m sorry you had a spill, Patrick. Do you need to see the nurse?” Patrick shrugged and crossed his arms.
When she looked away, he stuck out his tongue at me.
“I win!” I told myself.
“Ophelia.” Mrs. Zookey pointed to heer.
“Why don’t you go next.” Ophelia shook her long red hair and bit her lip like this was going to be bad stuff. She stood up.
“Wait, wait, sit down,” Patrick said.
“Wait. That’s not my Yucky. I was just getting started.” You could tell he was trying to think ooooof something else terrible, stinky, and awful.
“See,” he went on, “my father and me, we play chess. And here’s my real Yucky.
He never lets me win. And that’s no fair. I can beat anybody else, though,” he said, “if I want to.” “Can not,” Ben whispered to me.
“Can not!” I said out loud. “Richard.” Mrs. Zookey turned to me.
“You play chess. Do you win every time?” “I beat my mom once last week,” I told her. “But that was because the macaroni was burning. She’s good. But lots of kids beat Patrick. I mean it.” Patrick stared at me and then made like he was sticking his finger down his throat.
“ACHOOOO!” Ophelia sneezed. It was a shower. She could have put out a fire with it. Mrs. Zookey gave her a tissue. “Wait. It morphs into a Yummy,” Patrick told the class. “My father showed me some secret stuff. I’m going to play Mr.
E at Chess Club today. And I’m gonna smash him.” Ben, Ophelia, and I laughed out loud.
If there was any secret stuff in chess, Mr. E already knew it. “His name is Mr. Economopoulos,” Mrs.
Zookey said. “Everyone, say his name once again, so you’ll remember: E-con-o-mop-ou-los.” She always makes us say it, but everybody else just calls him Mr. E. He says that’s okay. It fits him, too. Mr. E is a “Myster-E.” He does tricks. He can make a chess piece disappear in his hand.
Then suddenly it appears behind your ear. He can also make your mom show up at school. And nobody, nobody smashes him at chess.
Late last September, Mr. E started Chess Club. It meets on Mondays after school. Ben and I had played each other since we were six, so we signed up.
Thirteen kids did. Four of us are from Mrs. Zookey’s class—Ben, me, Ophelia, and Patrick.
A lot of kids still didn’t get it.
Tess, a kid at Table Four, raised her hand. “Isn’t chess hard? I always thought going to Chess Club was like going to school after school.” “Yeah,” Sam said. He sits next to her.
“My brother says you’ve got to be really smart and that I should forget about it.” “No way,” I told them. “It’s a game.
It’s fun. You should try it.” Any other after-school club, you start in and do stuff, like fold origami or build towers with toothpicks. But first thing when he gets to Chess Club, Mr. E raises his arms over his head and he yells, “Chess!” Then we all have to pump our fists and yell, “I love it I love it I love it!” Chess really is fun. I guess I love it, but I could be better at it. I wish I was. “Well, if I don’t crush Mr. E,” Patrick said, “at least I’ll get Richard. For sure.” “No way,” I told him. But, okay, he might. If his dad did play great chess maybe he had taught Patrick secret stuff. In the library there are stacks of books on how to play. And there are, like, a gazillion different moves you can make. Patrick was grinning again like he was King of the Mountain.
“Thank you, Patrick, and good luck,” Mrs. Zookey told him. “Now, Ophelia, what do you have for us?” Ophelia stood up again. She was not smiling. I hoped it wasn’t going to be another dead gerbil. She already had two. The last one was called Binky. She had told us how she buried Binky in a cracker box. That was a big-time Yucky.
The next week her grandma got her a new gerbil. That was a Yummy. She shifted from one foot to the other.
“This is very not good,” she said. She sneezed and rubbed her nose with the soggy tissue.
I held my ears. Some Yuckys are too yucky. “You know what?” she asked us. I could hear even with my ears covered.
Nobody knew what.
“I’ve got to be a flower girl, that’s what. At my second cousin Mary Jo’s wedding a week from Saturday.” I unheld my ears. It wasn’t all that yucky.
Holly raised her hand. “I was a flower girl once,” she said. “I got to dress up like a princess.” “Why, Ophelia, you’ll be wonderful,” Mrs. Zookey said. She sounded happy. I bet she had thought it was going to be a dead gerbil, too.
“No,” Ophelia said. “I will not be wonderful. I don’t like Mary Jo. She talks baby talk at me. And you know what else? She’s getting married at Heeby-Jeeby Amusement Park. And I won’t get to dress up. Everybody—even the flower girl—has to wear a red checked shirt and blue jeans. And—” Patrick broke in. “That’s nothing. I heard about people who got married jumping out of an airplane. They wore parachutes.” “Patrick!” Mrs. Zookey warned.
Ophelia put her hands on top of her head, like she was trying to hold it on.
“The thing is, Heeby-Jeeby is where they got engaged. It was on the Whirly-Wheel.
You know.” We all knew. The Whirly-Wheel was scary. It was high. It was fast. It was famous. “Well,” Ophelia went on, “after they get married in the picnic tent, they’re going to ride on it. And I’m supposed to throw this great big bag of pink rose petals from the very top of the Whirly-Wheel.” She sneezed again and wiped her nose on her sleeve.
“I’ve been on that thing a hundred million times,” Patrick said. “No biggie. I never even hold on.” “I love the Whirly-Wheel,” a kid at Table Three said. “It’s awesome.” “I know. I know it’s easy for everybody else,” Ophelia said. “I only rode it once. You know what happened?” she asked us.
Nobody knew, but I could guess. She took a deep breath. “I threw up,” she told us. “All over the place.” “Eee-yew,” everybody went.
“My mom says if I don’t eat eggs that morning, I’ll be okay,” Ophelia said.
“But I won’t be okay. My little sister Bea loves the Whirly-Wheel. She says I’m a scaredy-cat. And she’s only five and three-quarter years old. So that’s my Yucky.” She sat down and crossed her arms.
“What a wimp,” Patrick whispered.
“Throwing up is no fun,” said Mrs.
Zookey. She patted Ophelia’s shoulder.
“Why don’t you ask them if you can scatter the petals on the merry-go-round instead? Heeby-Jeeby has a nifty one, with endangered animals that go up and down quite slowly. I’m sure that wouldn’t upset your stomach. I can just picture it—the bride and groom riding on the giant Chinese paddlefish, pink rose petals flying all around.” Ophelia sneezed.
Quickly, Mrs. Zookey grabbed a stack of papers and started handing them out.
“Write your name at the top,” she said, “and then answer this question: Why do plants have flowers? At the end of the flower unit you’ll do it again, and you’ll see how very much you’ve learned.
“And next Monday,” she went on, “let’s try to have more Yummys and fewer Yuckys, okay?” She started drawing a flower on the chalkboard.
“I’m not sure if mine’s a Yummy or a Yucky,” Dawn Marie whispered to Ben and me. “Yesterday we got a dog from the animal shelter. He’s a cockerdoodle.
That’s part cocker spaniel and part poodle.” “Wow! What could be yucky about that?” Ben asked her. “My mom’s a cat person.
She says I can’t have a dog, not even one that looks a little like a cat.” “I never heard of a cockerdoodle,” I said. “Maybe I could see him sometime.
Dogs like me.” “He likes me so much,” she said, “he thinks my toes are doggy treats. He nips. And when he’s not nipping, he barks and runs around in circles.” Dawn Marie shook her head. “He never stops.
All last night he whined and he barked.
He barked and he whined. He drove me batty.” “Here’s what you do,” Ben told her.
“You look him in the eye and you say, ‘Sit! Stay! Good dog!’ And you use his name,” Ben said. “You didn’t tell us.
What is it?” “I don’t know,” Dawn Marie said. “He hasn’t got one yet.” “I know,” I told her. “You could call him Patrick.”

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