Cover image for Potch & Polly
Potch & Polly
Steig, William, 1907-2003.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[Place of publication not identified] : Spoken Arts, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 audiocassette (7 min., 45 sec.) : analog, stereophonic + 1 book (1 volumes (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm)
Lively Potch pursues the girl of his dreams, the darling Polly Pumpernickel.
General Note:
Accompanying book illustrated by Jon Agee and published by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2002.

Side 1 with tones.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 63503.
Added Author:
Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CASSETTE KIT 1372 Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A delightful collaboration Born in the company of an angel wearing a clown's nose, Potch has always woken up happy to be who and where he is. Then, when he meets Polly Pumpernickel at a masquerade ball, he does a double backflip, but it's his heart that really goes for a whirl. Polly goes for a whirl, too, and winds up in a fountain after a dance-gone-wrong with Potch. One catastrophe follows another as Potch tries to win her affection. Just when things look utterly hopeless, Polly realizes that Potch isn't merely another annoying short bald guy, and she comes up with a plan of her own

Author Notes

William Steig was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 14, 1907, and spent his childhood in the Bronx. Steig found an outlet for his talent by creating cartoons for the high school newspaper. After high school graduation, Steig spent two years at City College, three years at the National Academy, and five days at the Yale School of Fine Arts before dropping out.

During his early days as a free-lance artist, he supplemented his income with work in advertising, although he intensely disliked it. He illustrated for the The New Yorker, beginning in 1930. During the 1940s, Steig's creativity found a more agreeable outlet when he began carving figurines in wood; his sculptures are on display as part of the collection in the historic home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York, and in several museums in New England. In 1967, Bob Kraus, a fellow cartoonist at The New Yorker, was in the process of organizing Windmill Books, an imprint for Harper & Row. Kraus suggested that Steig try writing and illustrating a book for a young audience. The result was Steig's letter-puzzle book entitled C D B!, published in 1968.

Roland the Minstrel Pig, was published the same year. With his very next title, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, he won the Caldecott Medal. The Amazing Bone was also a Caldecott Honor Book.In 1972, Steig published his first children's novel, Dominic, which won the Christopher Award. Abel's Island followed and was a Newberry Honor Book.

William Steig died in October 3, 2003 in Boston Massachusettes.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1-3. "When Potch was born, there was an angel with a clown's face hovering over the bed." So Potch is born laughing, and he grows up happy to be who and where he is. Then, at a fateful party, he meets "the preternatural Polly Pumpernickel." Falling head over heels in love, he sets out to woo the winsome lass. Alas, poor, plump, balding Potch is accident-prone, and all his schemes end in disaster. Or do they? Thank heavens for clown-faced angels. Steig's story is slight and may be more appealing to adults than children, but his alliteration-rich language is a joy to read aloud, and the great Jon Agee's cartoon illustrations are not only hilariously funny but also extraordinarily elegant in their design and execution. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Antisentimentalist Steig (Made for Each Other; Which Would You Rather Be?) crafts a screwball Cinderella story about a couple of klutzes. Potch was born laughing, with "an angel with a clown's face hovering over the bed." He grows from a chubby, happy boy into a chubby, happy, bald man not quite princely material. One day, costumed as Harlequin at a masquerade ball, he spies "the preternatural Polly Pumpernickel," a lanky socialite with a little head, big feet and plenty of charisma. "He was so smitten, he did a double backflip." (The illustrations leave this nimble move to the imagination.) Polly takes to Potch, too, but when his over-exuberant dancing lands her in the fountain, she gets steamed. The book tallies Potch's slapstick efforts to win her back, each resulting in an accident of vaudevillian proportions. In aptly loony images, Agee (Milo's Hat Trick) alludes to Krazy Kat's affection for the brick-toting Ignatz Mouse. He recalls classic comics with strong directional lines, sweeping curves, voice balloons and sound effects ("wok!... clonk!" after Polly flings a dictionary). As in other wacky courtships Popeye and Olive come to mind the romance is hard to fathom, but the puckish storytelling and artful compositions have considerable spark. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-This irresistible picture book has it all: a tongue-in-cheek text brimming with deliciously alliterative phrases, wry cartoons that mix visual gags with a comic-book punch, and a plot featuring two lovers who are taunted by twists of fate and turns of slapstick humor. Born with a clown-faced angel cavorting nearby, Potch enjoys a happy childhood and grows into a contented adult. Then one day, he receives an invitation to a masquerade party and goes dressed as Harlequin. He is having a "ball at the ball" when he lays eyes on Polly Pumpernickel and is instantly smitten. Passions build as the couple takes charge of the dance floor. Just when it seems that they will "prance and pirouette" their way to a happy ending, Potch tosses his partner into the air and she accidentally ends up in the fountain, drenched and incensed. Determined to win his lady's hand, he concocts several elaborate and ridiculous schemes to impress her. Unfortunately, something always goes wrong, and it's up to Potch's angel to find a way to untangle the heartstrings of these star-crossed lovers. Steig's delivery is flawless and funny, as outrageous plot turns are balanced by straightforward, almost staccato language that moves along at an exhilarating pace. Highlighted by crayon lines and subtly colored in pastel hues, the hilarious artwork expands and enhances the text. The balding, paunchy Potch and orange-haired, pencil-thin Polly make quite an eye-catching couple, and Agee makes the most of their antics. Dialogue balloons, sound effects, and varied layouts keep the energy level high. A sublimely silly and thoroughly satisfying love story.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.