Classroom Teachers: Why The Checker Players?


In all of our years of teaching, we’ve found The Checker Players to be the perfect book for children of all ages.

It’s the story of two comical characters, who, while competing in a simple game of checkers, find their very friendship at stake. How the carpenter and tinker resolve their differences provides a springboard for endless discussions about the value of respect and compromise.

We’ve found many creative ways to use The Checker Players.

The story may be used to analyze story structure and character description, as well as to highlight the author’s use of humor which flows throughout the book. To predict the ending, the children may draw their own versions of the tinker’s and carpenter’s boats, then discuss how these differences would affect the story’s outcome. The Checker Players also lends itself well to reader’s theatre, as well as creative dramatics and practice in script-writing. Used as a model for creative writing, students are always inspired and their writing improves accordingly.

Reading The Checker Players in September, when friendships are forming and teamwork is being encouraged, sets the stage for cooperation and goodwill throughout the school year.

“What did the carpenter do to solve his problem? The tinker?” “Can you two work out your differences like they did?” “How can we use the example of The Checker Players to solve problems in our families, our neighborhoods, our world?”

If ever a book promoted tolerance and fair play, this is it.

Children who are exposed to The Checker Players book may look at their world differently. Teachers may look at their students in a new light. We are delighted to see this book back in publication. It is a classroom essential.

Mary Fessenden & Ruth Rath

Teachers: If you’d like to contact a veteran elementary teacher who has taught or is currently teaching The Checker Players in class, please let us put you in touch through