Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair

Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair

by Patricia Polacco
     
 

How much TV is too much TV? Welcome to Triple Creek, where the townspeople watch TV day and night. They watch it when they're eating, working, playing, and sleeping. They even use TVs to teach the kids at school. But when Eli's eccentric Aunt Chip (who refuses to own a TV) discovers that her nephew and her neighbors don't remember how to read, she pulls the plug on

Overview

How much TV is too much TV? Welcome to Triple Creek, where the townspeople watch TV day and night. They watch it when they're eating, working, playing, and sleeping. They even use TVs to teach the kids at school. But when Eli's eccentric Aunt Chip (who refuses to own a TV) discovers that her nephew and her neighbors don't remember how to read, she pulls the plug on the whole town-using books that have been piled high to build a dam to spread the magic of reading all around.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
It's finally happened, the townspeople are so hooked on TV that they have forgotten how to read and enjoy life. In this cautionary tale, Polacco warns of the perils of too much TV and presents the joy and liberation that reading provides. The illustrations on every spread are a sheer delight-we see the town and the adults transform from couch potatoes to vibrant active participants in life and the arts. A great message from a master storyteller.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-A cautionary tale that will appeal to anyone who believes in the power and magic of books. When the town of Triple Creek first built a huge TV tower, Aunt Chip took to her bed, promising, "there will be consequences." Now, 50 years later, the townspeople are so obsessed with their televisions that they are oblivious to everything else. Of course, people still "use" books-as furniture, to fix crumbling walls, to patch up tattered roofs-but no one knows how to read. Finally, Aunt Chip, who used to be the town librarian, pops out of bed to do something about it. Beginning with her nephew, Eli, she teaches the children to read. Hungry for books, they take them from wherever they can be found. When Eli and his friends pluck a copy of Moby Dick from the dam, they unleash a wall of water that destroys the TV tower and changes the future of the town. A master storyteller, Polacco flavors this modern fable with the language and cadence of a traditional tall tale. Filled with amusing details, interesting characters, and unexpected twists, this enjoyable story clearly makes its point without seeming heavy-handed. In perfect harmony with the text, the illustrations add dimension and resonance to the words. Enslaved by TV, Triple Creek is colored in dismal grays and imprisoned by imposing power lines. Afterwards, the town is blooming, bustling, and brightly colored. Watch out. Polacco's passion for books and reading is contagious.-Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library
Ilene Cooper
Aunt Chip took to her bed 50 years ago when the big television tower came to town and the library closed. She knew there would be consequences, and there were--everyone stopped reading, and now they don't remember how. When Aunt Chip learns that, she gets out of bed and begins teaching the children to read. Soon the kids love reading so much they're taking books out of potholes and sagging buildings, where the books have been doing infrastructure duty. Eventually, the TV tower falls down, at first angering the adults and then causing them to read. Reading reigns, and Aunt Chip goes back to her job of decades ago, town librarian. Naturally, this subject is near and dear to every librarian's heart, but Polacco's treatment of it borders on the didactic. Still, since books and reading are always in competition with television viewing, maybe a little didacticism doesn't hurt. Polacco's signature-style artwork, a bit more freewheeling than usual, has fun with the fantasy elements of the story. Not top-of-the-line Polacco, but libraries will probably want to buy this for the message.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399229435
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
03/28/1996
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
299,950
Product dimensions:
8.81(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

"I was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Soon after my birth I lived in Williamston, Michigan and then moved onto my grandparents farm in Union City, Michigan.

"I lived on the farm with my mom and Grandparents until 1949. That is when my Babushka (my grandmother) died and we prepared to move away from Michigan. I must say that living on that little farm with them was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.

"My parents were divorced when I was 3, and both my father and mother moved back into the homes of their parents. I spent the school year with my mother, and the summers with my dad. In both households I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes! I would say that these relationships with my grandparents have most definitely influenced my life and my work. You probably have noticed that in almost every book that I write there is a very young person who is interacting with an elderly person. Personally, I feel that this is the most valuable experience of my life....having the wonder of knowing both children and elderly people.

"The respect that I learned as a very young person certainly carried over into my life in later years. I have always like hearing stories from these folks. My genuine curiosity for the wonder of living a very long life prepared me to accept the declining years of my own parents.

"To get back to the farm in Union City...this place was so magical to me that I have never forgotten it! This was the place where I heard such wonderful stories told...this was the place that a real meteor fell into our font yard...that very meteorite is now our family headstone in the graveyard here in Union City.

"Did I tell you that I now live in Union City? This is after living in Oakland, California for almost 37 years. But, you see, every year I'd come back to Michigan to see my Dad and family.

"Anyway...

"In 1949 we left the farm to move, first to Coral Gables, Florida. I lived there with my Mom and my brother, Richard, for almost 3 years. Then we moved to Oakland, California. I remained there for most of my young life on into my adulthood. We lived on Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge District. What I loved the most about this neighborhood is that all of my neighbors came in as many colors, ideas and religions as there are people on the planet. How lucky I was to know so many people that were so different and yet so much alike.

"It is on Ocean View that I met my best friend, Stewart Grinnell Washington. We are best friends to this day! He has a younger brother, Winston and three sisters; Jackie, Terry and Robin. When I was a student in elementary school I wasn't a very good student. I had a terrible time with reading and math. As a matter of fact, I did not learn how to read until I was almost 14 years old. Can you imagine what it was like to see all my friends do so well in school and I wasn't! I thought I was dumb. I didn't like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn't do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero's, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school. Of course, now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean DUMB AT ALL! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact, most learning disabled children are actually GENIUSES! Once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

"I went on to University, majored in Fine Art, then went on to do a graduate degree and even ended up with a Ph.D. in Art History. For a time I restored ancient pieces of art for museums. I eventually became the mother of two children, Steven and Traci, and devoted much of my days to their education and upbringing.

"I did not start writing children's books until I was 41 years old. Mind you the "art" has always been there for me most of my life. Apparently one of the symptoms of my disability in academics is the ability of draw very, very well. So drawing, painting and sculpture has always been a part of my life even before I started illustrating my books. The books were quite a surprise, really. Mind you, I came from a family of incredible storytellers. My mother's people were from the Ukraine and Russia...my father's people were from Ireland. My extended family,(Stewart's family) were from the bayous of Louisiana...also great story tellers. When you are raised on HEARING stories.....NOT SEEING THEM, you become very good at telling stories yourself. So at the age of 41 I started putting stories that I told down on paper and did drawings to help illustrate them...I guess the rest is history.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful career of writing books for children . Who could have guessed that little girl that was having such a tough time in school would end up an illustrator and author. Children and adults alike ask me where I get my ideas...I get them from the same place that you do....MY IMAGINATION... I would guess the reason my imagination is so fertile is because I came from storytelling and, WE DID NOT OWN A T.V.!!!!!!!!! You see, when one is a writer, actor, dancer, musician; a creator of any kind, he or she does these things because they listen to that "voice" inside of them. All of us have that "voice". It is where all inspired thoughts come from....but when you have electronic screens in front, of you, speaking that voice for you... it DROWNS OUT THE VOICE! When I talk to children and aspiring writers, I always ask them to listen to the voice, turn off the T.V. and

"LISTEN...LISTEN...LISTEN.

"Now that I have moved back to Union City I am intending to open my house and community and invite people to come there to take part in writing seminars, story telling festivals, literature conferences and various events that celebrate children's literature."

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"

Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.

The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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