________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 41. . . .June 26, 2015


The Potato King.

Christoph Niemann.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-139-8.

Subject Heading:
Frederick II, King of Prussia, 1712-1786-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 4-9.

Review by Janet Beauchamp.

**** /4



“Hmm... thought the villagers. If a vegetable has to be so closely guarded, there must be something special about it.”


The Potato King is an interesting storybook which tells the tale of how the Prussian king, King Frederick, who was also known as Fritz, was able to trick his villagers into believing that the potato was a worthy crop. The villagers did not trust this new crop, but, when Fritz decided to have a royal guard monitor the potato field, the people figured the potato must be special, and so they stole the crop and planted them in their own gardens.

internal art

     While the story is cleverly written and the trickery is intriguing, what I really found enjoyable was the history involved in the story. I was unaware of the journey taken by the potato from South America to Prussia. At the end of the story, the author provides a more detailed account of the history of the potato and how Spanish explorers found potatoes while searching for gold. The reader also learns that the potato leaves are poisonous and that the potato is the fourth largest food crop on earth.

internal art

      The final feature of this storybook that I truly enjoyed is that all of the illustrations are made with potato stamps. The illustrator uses potato prints to create people, furniture, clouds, soldiers, etc to bring the story to life. Pictures of real potatoes are also used to highlight the role of the vegetable in this tale. The Potato King is a book a child and an adult can read again and again and enjoy every time.

Highly Recommended.

Janet Beauchamp is the mother of three girls, a high school teacher and teacher-librarian who lives in L’Amable, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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