From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 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
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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