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Cover image for Aunt Chip and the great Triple Creek dam affair
Aunt Chip and the great Triple Creek dam affair
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, ©1996 (Singapore)
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Book design by Donna Mark.
CD. Cut 1. Program with with tones -- Cut 2. Program without tones.
Aunt Chip saves the town of Triple Creek, where everyone has forgotten how to read because of the invasion of television.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader MG 4.2 .5.

Reading Counts 3-5 3.5 2 N.
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Polacco's parable, about the hazards of watching too much television at the expense of libraries and books, is more didactic than entertaining. She illustrates the story with her characteristic exuberant paintings. From HORN BOOK 1996, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. 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. --Ilene Cooper