THE GREATEST POTATOES by Penelope Stowell

THE GREATEST POTATOES

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like baseball, the origin of potato chips is shrouded in folkloric mists—but Stowell retells the most common version, which involves a culinary dustup between snooty potato connoisseur (and tycoon) Cornelius Vanderbilt and an ill-tempered cook named George Crum at a Saratoga, NY resort. After the Commodore repeatedly sends plates of fried potatoes back—“Too thick! That fare is foul!”—an irritated Crum decides to serve the worst spud prepared in the most unappetizing way he can manage: thinly sliced, burnt to a crisp and loaded with salt. Of course, Vanderbilt “couldn’t eat just one,” and so a legend was born. Watts illustrates the incident with sketchy watercolor scenes composed of elegantly swooping lines and comically stylized figures. Stowell closes with a historical summation noting Crum’s African-American ancestry, plus the requisite recipe. Rare is the reader who won’t want to Lay this Wise tale aside temporarily for a greasy, salty snack-food fix. (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7868-5113-9
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2005