I found this book by the end of last May in a used-books shop. That day, they didn’t have many books interested me. Like almost always, I went to the back of the shop where they kept old books that smelled funny. Chinese and Korean novels bore great covers but sadly I couldn’t buy them even if I would. I searched the bottom rows of each shelf just to find essays about school and marriage. Then there it was… the worn green hardcover. I skimmed several pages then decided that was the one going with me home.
Chip was a boy’s nickname. He lived up on a hill with his parents where he also made friends with a caterpillar, a fresh-water turtle, and a parakeet.The book tells how Chip spent four beautiful seasons with his unique friends and parents. I love how Roderick Huff describes the places. The river, the trees, how the moon rose and the sun set. Beautiful. Sheila Greenwald’s drawings really compliment the book. I love them, very artistic. All in all it’s a nice, feel-good story for everyone.
My favorite character is Burfur, the straight-forward, explosive, but smart little caterpillar. He stuck with Chip the most, and regardless his size, he always managed to survive and found his way back to Chip.
The diction is simple and clean, as is the plot. And there are good quotes along the story that, I’m sure, applies to everyone. My pick is the one Burfur said, “Sometimes being safe is the sorriest thing one could ever be.” (in contrary to better be safe than sorry.) The strong values of friendship and family also really add to the whole package.
The nice surprise I found after I bought the book was that on Amazon.com the lowest offer to the classic hardcover is $250, there were only three people with the book in hand. I actually got the book for only Rp.35.000,- ($3.5) yeah, iknowright. The previous owner left some Koreans notes under some words. I think a student. There are chocolate smears and fingerprints too. Very fascinating. No torn or unbound pages. Pretty decent. But, no, I’m not letting this one go for any price.
Another good fact I learn is that Roderick Huff didn’t publish a lot of work. Even his biography is a bit difficult to find. This Chip book has no ISBN, only Librarian of Congress catalog card number and published by Harper&Brothers.