Are you looking for a good book to teach your child about empathy and being kind to others? The Potato Chip Champ written by Maria Dismondy is an excellent book to teach your child many important concepts. The story begins with a boy named Champ who loves potato chips and is a very good baseball player. It is all perfect until a new boy joins the team. His name is Walter Norbert Whipplemoore and he is always late for practice, wears dirty shoes and rides a broken down bike. All the members of the baseball team really likes Walter except Champ. Champ is jealous of Walter because he gets more hits than him at practice and cheers from his team players. Coach announces one day that there will be a big fundraiser with the grand prize being a truckload of potato chips! Competitive Champ wants to win more than anyone!
One day during practice, Champ breaks his leg and is no longer able to play baseball. He can’t play anymore and has to sit out of all the games. One day during a miserable time at home eating potato chips, Walter shows up to visit him. Champ is disappointed because he doesn’t like Walter but is surprised to learn that Walter’s mom doesn’t have a car which is why he always rides his bike. A couple of days later, Walter shows up at Champs house with the grand prize of potato chips. Walter won the prize but wants to share the potato chips with Walter because he feels bad that he has been unable to play any of the games because of his broken leg. Champ is so touched by Walter’s generosity that he changes his ways of being so competitive and jealous by giving him an unused bike in his garage. A wonderful friendship develops at the end of the story.
I really enjoyed this book because there are many concepts that a child can learn from this book such as developing empathy, showing kindness, being generous and less selfish and showing appreciation for what you have. Jealousy is common among both children and adults but with children it can be helpful to talk about that specific feeling and how it might affect their behavior towards others. Some great discussion questions can include: Why was Champ being so mean to Walter? How did Champ feel when he learned that Walter’s mom didn’t have a car? Why did Walter visit Champ after he was mean to him? How did Champ feel when Walter delivered the potato chips?
Are you teacher? Check out this READERS GUIDE with tons of activities, tips and more written by J. Runde here.
To hear The Potato Chip Champ read by the author Maria Dismondy, check out the video below