Reviews for George Crum and the Saratoga Chip
Booklist Reviews 2006 April #1
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. ((Reviewed April 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall
George Crum knew ridicule as a child, partly because of his mixed Native and African-American heritage. His sister, Kate, was his only friend, and the outdoors his sanctuary. Cooking becomes George's saving grace, and he eventually triumphs over life's frustrations by inventing the Saratoga chip--today's potato chip. Bold acrylic illustrations fill the pages, enveloping the straightforward text. Bib. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 March #2
Spinning lively invented details around skimpy historical records, Taylor profiles the 19th-century chef credited with inventing the potato chip. Crum, thought to be of mixed Native-American and African-American ancestry, was a lover of the outdoors, who turned cooking skills learned from a French hunter into a kitchen job at an upscale resort in New York state. As the story goes, he fried up the first batch of chips in a fit of pique after a diner complained that his French fries were cut too thickly. Morrison's schoolroom, kitchen and restaurant scenes seem a little more integrated than would have been likely in the 1850s, but his sinuous figures slide through them with exaggerated elegance, adding a theatrical energy as delicious as the snack food they celebrate. The author leaves Crum presiding over a restaurant (also integrated) of his own, closes with a note separating fact from fiction and also lists her sources. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2006 May
Gr 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 [Page 118]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.