From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5 This lively story of the inventor of the potato chip begins with Crum's 1830s childhood in the Adirondacks, where his feisty streak gave him resilience in the face of prejudice against his Native American/African-American heritage. He combined a passion for cooking with a perfectionist bent and was hired as a chef at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, where he created popular wild game and fish dishes. His encounters with fussy and demanding patrons led to the innovative idea of thinly sliced, deep-fried potatoes as the ultimate French fry, and his fame spread rapidly. He eventually opened his own restaurant, Crum's Place, where everyone was treated equally, regardless of race or wealth. Taylor notes that the story is based on the more substantiated existing facts about a man whose life is largely undocumented. She writes clearly and compassionately, and treats topics of culinary history and race relations in an inviting manner. Crum is multidimensional in depiction, and readers can practically taste his crisp, freshly prepared chips. Morrison's richly colored acrylic illustrations have a comical look; the elongated figures shown from unusual angles create stylized exaggeration and burst with life. This book contains sufficient detail to interest older students, and its appealing format will assure its popularity as a read-aloud for the primary grades. Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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Gr. 2-4. Part Native American, part African American, George Crum coped with prejudice as a boy in New York State during the 1830s. As a young man, he became an excellent cook and was hired as a chef at a renowned restaurant in Saratoga Springs, frequented by high society. Once, responding to a persnickety customer, Crum retrieved the dish of French fries, whittled them into very thin slices, and cooked them in hot oil, creating the forerunner of the potato chip. Later in life, Crum opened his own restaurant, where everyone was treated equally, regardless of skin color, gender, age, or economic status. Providing enough historical explanation for younger students, this picture-book biography describes dramatic moments that reveal Crum's creativity, artistic temperament, and relentless pursuit of perfection. Buoyant acrylic illustrations accentuate the absurdity of situations, depicting the jaunty chef, all angles and energy. Sources and an author's note are appended. An excellent choice for multicultural and invention units. Linda PerkinsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved