PPBF: The Potato Chip Champ

Are you ready for another year of Perfect Picture Book Fridays at Susanna Hill's blog? This Mom's Choice Award-winner hits a homerun in my book!

Title: The Potato Chip Champ
Author: Maria Dismondy
Illustrator: Dawn Beacon
Publisher: Maria Dismondy Inc.
Date: December 15, 2012
Suitable for: ages 4-11
Themes: kindness, empathy, integrity
Brief synopsis: Champ and Walter, two boys from very different worlds, have a seemingly insignificant thing in common - their love for potato chips. Will that connection be enough when Champ's world starts to crumble and he needs a friend?
Opening page: Champ loved potato chips. He ate them on his sandwiches. He crumbled them over his mac and cheese. He mixed them together with ice cream. Champ even dipped chocolate covered potato chips in ranch dressing. If only his parents would let him eat them all the time!

Read a book review {here}
Download the comprehensive Teachers' Guide {here}
Visit the book's page for a reading by Maria Dismondy {here}
Watch the Book Trailer on You Tube:

Why I like this book:  It's no secret that I'm a Maria Dismondy fan. Her stories are authentically delightful and I really love that each of her books has an Information For Parents page with helpful hints about how to keep the book's message alive. I was beyond-excited back in June when I got an email from Maria, asking if I'd write that page for her fourth book. What an honor to be a part of this project! 

But those are only two of the reasons that I'm drawn to this hard-hitter. The third is that these main characters are real kids with real-life issues: Champ, an over-indulged athlete who has it all and still wants more, and Walter, a socially-awkward tyke whose family struggles to make ends meet, so much so that they don't even have a car. My favorite is the page below because Champ is reflecting on what it must be like to go everywhere on a bike and, without many words, it's got empathy written all over it. 

Ask the questions on this anchor chart (that I found hanging in Heather Janish's first-grade classroom) after sharing the story to make sure that the kids understood and could appreciate the chip challenge and its end result. Find out what they think the subtitle Discovering Why Kindness Counts means. Use that top-notch Teachers' Guide written by Jennifer Runde (see link above to download) with activities and ideas for this tasty treat that could easily be adapted to other sports stories in your collection. It is positively creative, integrating science, music, geography and more!

Check out this winner, then check back this Monday, January 7th, for a Q&A with Maria as she kicks off her blog tour at the Corner and puts an author-signed copy of Champ up for grabs.


  1. What a fun book with a great message for kids. I'm not familiar with Marie's books, so I will be interested in checking them out and reading your interview with her next week! It was nice that she asked you to participate. I love the illustrations you shared. Great book for PPBF.

    1. Thanks, Pat. You are always so supportive, encouraging, and kind! I feel abundantly blessed to have been invited to write a page in Maria's book!

  2. This looks like a really great book! Thought provoking. And your enthusiasm for it is catching! I think I will have to check it out and maybe share it with the library kids.

    1. Oh Rhythm, you are correct - it's a great book. Anything that has to do with kindness and empathy has greatness written all over it. Thanks, as always, for stopping by the Corner! Your visits bring me JOY.

  3. I'm not familiar with Maria Dismondy, but this book sound really good... and won a Mom's Choice! I love all the resources, and the topic of two kids from different backgrounds finding common ground. Thanks so much for sharing this one, Barbara!

  4. I think my six-year-old would love this book. I am always looking for fiction he might enjoy, and I think you've nailed it.

  5. Thank you Barbara!!! What a FANTASTIC first review!!! It had me smiling over and over again. I have a feeling this book is going to CHANGE lives!!!!

    I am going to link to it in my post tomorrow. xo Maria

  6. Now you've got me intrigued! I don't know this author's work and look forward to this and other titles! Thanks!

  7. Looks like another book for the "character counts" book basket in my classroom.

  8. I think that I am going to have to read this book and share it with others! Thank you for visiting my blog! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Have a wonderful weekend!


  9. Thanks introducing me to a new author. I added this to my list for the library! It sounds great!

  10. Just when I thought I knew a lot of your blogger buddies Barbara! Look at all these people unfamiliar with my work. I am thrilled they will now have access to the messages in my books to share with the children in their lives! Thank you! Maria


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!