________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 8. . . October 27, 2017


Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament.

Anne Renaud. Illustrated by Felicita Sala.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2017.
40 pp., hardcover, $18.99.
ISBN 978-1-77138-619-7.

Subject Heading:
Crum, George (Chef)-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Johanna Beaumont.

**** /4


He fricasseed and flambéed, boiled and braised, poached and pureed. He made sorbets and soufflés, stews and soccotaches, ragouts and goulashes.


George Clum is a man who loves to cook. His house is quickly transformed into “Crum’s Place” and bustles with daily business comprised of costumers who devour his cooking. One day, Filbert P. Horsefeathers came to the restaurant and requested only one item: potatoes. The first plate of potatoes was promptly sent back to the chef, a momentous occasion that had never happened in the history of George’s popular restaurant. And so the reader enters George’s kitchen in the quest to make the perfect potatoes for Mr. Horsefeathers, potatoes which materialize into the beloved all-time favourite – potato chips. The watercolour and coloured pencil artwork adorns scenes from long ago in the small town restaurant. Polka dotted cravats, décor on lapels and fancy hats are commonplace in this story.

     The introduction whimsically states, “The story you are about to savor is a fictional tale with a helping of truth.” After the conclusion of the story, the reader enjoys the exciting fact that George Clum was, in fact, a real chef. The story comes alive with photographs of the actual George, his restaurant and his famous potato chips. Additionally, a detailed list of sources used by the author includes books, newspapers and websites. Students could easily be steered towards additional research and even their own embellished biographic storytelling.

     This playfully repetitive third person narrative holds solid story structure and is easy to follow. Its deliciously rich vocabulary requires a solid book preview to create prior knowledge, but it is also a very rewarding read. It transports the reader to the very heat of the kitchen using language that is seldom encountered. The words seem to sizzle off the page. The use of text greatly enhances the climax of the story as Mr. Filbert P. Horsefeathers inspects the newest potato dish for the final time. The two-page spread is adorned with a sequence of illustrations enhanced by occasional larger, meandering text carefully placed amid onomatopoeic descriptions. Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament will quickly become a must-read among young children and adults alike.

Highly Recommended.

Johanna Beaumont is a kindergarten teacher at Spruceland Traditional Elementary School in Prince George, BC. She is also currently studying for a Master of Special Education degree at UNBC.

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

© CM Association

This Creative Commons license allows you to download the review and share it with others as long as you credit the CM Association. You cannot change the review in any way or use it commercially.

Hosted by the
University of

Commercial use is available through a contract with the CM Association. This Creative Commons license allows publishers whose works are being reviewed to download and share said CM reviews provided you credit the CM Association.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - October 27, 2017
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive