Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip
by Gaylia Taylor
illustrated by Frank Morrison
ISBN: 1584302550
Lee & Low Books

Teacher Guide

About the book:
Growing up in the 1830’s in Saratoga Springs, New York, isn’t easy for George Crum. Picked on at school because of the color of his skin, George escapes into his favorite pastimes- hunting and fishing.
Soon George learns to cook too, and as a young man he lands a job as chef at the fancy Moon’s Lake House. George loves his work, except for the fussy customers, who are always complaining! One hot day George’s patience boils over, and he cooks up a potato dish so unique it changes his life forever.
Readers will delight in this spirited story of the invention of one of America’s favorite snack foods. George Crum and the Saratoga Chip is a testament to human ingenuity, and a tasty slice of culinary history.

About the author:
Gaylia Taylor discovered her passion for writing children’s stories during her years as a reading teacher. Now retired, Taylor finds inspiration in newspaper travel experiences, and memories of her childhood. She discovered George Crum’s story while researching African American inventors. Taylor lives in Norfolk, Virginia, with her husband.

About the illustrator:
Frank Morrison is the illustrator of Lee & Low’s Sweet Music in Harlem, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year and an IRA Notable Book. He has also received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in illustration for Jazzy Miz Mozetta. His artwork is included in private collections, including those of Bill Cosby and Maya Angelou. Morrison lives with his family in Hampton, Georgia.

Author Interview:

  1. What inspired you about George Crum’s story?
  2. What is the best part of being a writer? What is the hardest part?
  3. What advice do you give young authors?
  4. What have you learned about writing since you began your career?
  5. What are you working on next?

Pre-reading activity:

Bring in a bag of chips. Have you ever wondered how these were invented? Why should we study the inventions of other people? What might we learn?  Have you ever invented something?

Discussion Guide

  1. Why was George embarrassed at school? Have you ever had to perform in front of your class? Do you like to be in front of others, or like George, would you rather work behind the scene?
  2. How was it different in the 1830’s than it is today in America? Why was it more difficult for people of color? Do you think it is still harder for people of color in America? Why or why not?
  3. How did George stick to his goal despite many people turning him down for work? What is it called when you don’t give up your dream?
  4. George had “little patience for the fussy customers.” he did not like it when they acted as if they were better than the people serving them. What did George do about it? What do you do when people treat you poorly?
  5. Have you ever been laughed at? How did it make you feel? What can you do for someone who is embarrassed like George was when he fell?
  6. Describe how George came up with the potato chip. How did it change his life?
  7. What was different about George’s restaurant than other ones of his time? How was he able to change the standards of his time? How can you?
  8. Which illustration is your favorite in the book? Why?
  9. Do you think George would’ve been as successful without the influence of his sister Kate? Why or why not? How did Kate help her brother?
  10. Read the author’s note. Are you surprised by the amount of research it took to write a picture book? What types of resources did the author use? Why do you think she added the author’s note at the end? What does it show us about the writing process?



Fill out the following vocabulary chart based on the story:

How it’s used in the story:
What it means:
Use in a new sentence:









Create a Venn diagram comparing life in the 1830’s with life today. How was it different? How was it the same or similar? Were there any parts of life back then you’d think were better than life today?


Potato art:
Cut fresh potatoes in half. Draw a design on the potato with a dull or broken pencil. This part will become your stamp. Then, remove any parts of the potato around the edges of your drawing so that the ink won’t get on it. Use your stamp to create a unique design. Share!


sing to the tune “London Bridge”

George Crum liked to cook
off his hook
from a brook!
George Crum liked to cook

George Crum created a dish
not from fish
a customer’s wish!
George Crum created a dish
and we thank him!