To Come and Go Like Magic
Told in vignettes and set in 1970s Appalachia, this novel presents the story of Chilli Sue Mahoney, a girl who has never been outside of her small town. When a new world-traveling substitute teacher arrives, Chilli learns about the world--and to appreciate where she lives.
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Chapter 1 - Leaving …
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Momma mean when she says, "Grass is grass"?
Chapter 3 - English Becomes Geography …
The setting of "To Come and Go Like Magic" is Southern Appalachia. The culture of Southern Appalachia is unique and can trace its roots to the Scot-Irish people who first settled there. In fact, the region's expressions and language habits have their origins in the speech patterns of the Scot-Irish ancestors. To say "down here" implies that there is something wrong with the culture. In fact, it is rich in history and should be respected. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why is Miss Matlock quizzing the kids on geography?
Chapter 4 - Chile, the Country, Spelled Wrong …
During the time of the Civil War, private homes became hospitals. Ordinary citizens tended to the wounded and dying. The caretakers gave little notice to which side the soldier was fighting for and provided whatever care they could. This photo shows a home in Antietam that was used as a hospital following the bloody battle of Antietam. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 5 - The Penguin Bird on Blue Ice …
How does Miss Matlock's house compare with Momma's house?
We know the setting of this book is 1976 because earlier Chili mentions the bicentennial. At that time, there was no internet and cable TV was relatively new. In order to see images of places around the world, books and magazines would have been the primary way to do so. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 6 - Sand Without Stones …
Why does Chili say, "...but a dream is a dream"?
Chapter 8 - Bad Habits …
People once referred to government assistance as welfare. It is a term that is no longer used. The government assistance provided money for food and other necessities for people in difficult situations. Like anything, there are those who took advantage and received assistance when they might not have really required it. However, do you think that Willie's family is able to take care of themselves, or do they need help? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Pop get upset when Chili asks about Uncle Lucius and Myra?
Chapter 11 - Birds and Boys …
For hundreds of years, the people who lived in Appalachia lived very isolated lives. They knew all of the people within their small communities. Strangers were considered "outsiders" because they were from outside of the mountains. (This annotation contains an image)
How does this scene of Chili revealing that she is sneaking to see Miss Matlock contribute to the plot of the book?
Chapter 12 - Miss Hart, Queen of Homeroom …
This is a common misconception. It is not a good idea just to bubble the letter "c" on a test. Thinking through each question is the only way to be successful on a test. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 13 - Roscoe …
"Sitting up with the dead" was the custom in Appalachia. This custom was brought over by the Scot-Irish immigrants who settled the area. It was not much different from the visitations that occur in funeral homes today. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Momma mean when she says this is "his home"?
Chapter 14 - Roxy March …
Does your family have stories and legends that they tell about other family members? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 15 - 71 Beech Street …
What can you tell about Momma because she "wouldn't dream of sending anybody to a hotel"?
Chapter 17 - Church, Chimps, and Eyes …
Read the highlighted sentence from the text."We did not spring from chimpanzees!"Which of the following uses spring in the same way that it is used in the sentence above?
Charles Darwin is a famous scientist. His life work involved researching the origin and evolution of the species. His scientific work was remarkable, but it was rejected in some regions. He proposed the idea that all creatures, including humans, evolved from lower life forms. This notion was especially unpopular with some religious groups. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 18 - Uncle Lucius and the Kites …
The Appalachian Trail is 2,180 miles long and extends through fourteen states. About two million people hike some part of the trail each year, and there are some who spend months hiking the entire trail! (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Chili "feel like a worm"?
Chapter 20 - The Wisdom of Spring …
Many groups have done work in Southern Appalachia. This is mainly due to the extreme poverty that can be found in the area. These groups are not always welcomed by the people in the area as they are independent people with a lot of pride. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Aunt Rose shows Chili the flower and tells her that "you can't really know a thing until you've looked at it up close for a good, long time?"
Chapter 21 - Secrets, Songs, and Bad Dreams …
What does Momma mean when she says that "Jerry Wilson is going to pay for this baby"?
Today, women always know if their child is going to be a boy or a girl, but that is due to modern technology. Just a few years ago, no one knew until the baby was born if it was a boy or girl. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 23 - April Fool …
How does Willie Bright compare to the rest of the boys in the class?
Chapter 24 - Spring Floods and Rats of All Kinds …
Kudzu vine is an invasive species that was brought here from Japan. It was first introduced as a way to combat soil erosion. However, it has grown unchecked and kills native trees. It grows so quickly that it covers about 150,000 new acres a year in the United States. This pictures shows Kudzu vine that has covered an old abandoned house. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 25 - Eating Poke Salad …
Watch this video on point of view. As you continue to read the book, think about how the points of view of the characters differ. You will be asked some questions regarding point of view throughout the remainder of the book. (This annotation contains a video)
What is Pop's point of view regarding the VISTA workers?
Pay attention to this, and you might gain some insight into why the Brights have such a hard time. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 26 - Timing …
Based on what you have read in the text, why is Chili glad that Willie doesn't see her bringing food to his house? What does this tell you about Chili?Make sure you use evidence from the text in your response.
Chapter 27 - Surry Who Sings …
The dulcimer is an instrument that is unique to the Appalachians. Its name means "sweet music." No one is certain where it originated, but there is some possibility that it came from Germany. (This annotation contains an image)
"Can the Circle Be Unbroken" is an old song that is attributed to A.P. Carter. Carter and his singing family were from the Appalachians, and first shared the traditional music found there with the rest of the nation. The Carter Family was a household name for many years in America. Here is an old clip of The Carter Family singing "Can the Circle Be Unbroken." Today, the song is usually sang as "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" instead of "Can the Circle Be Unbroken?" (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 28 - Whistling in Africa …
Read this saying of Aunt Rose's."Whistling girls and cackling hens always come to a bad end."Based on what you have read in the text, what do you think this means?
Chapter 30 - Opening Shots …
What do Lenny and Chili have in common?
Did you predict something like this would happen? Being a skilled reader means that you are able to anticipate some of the events that will occur in the story. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 32 - Moments …
There are many home remedies that can be made from the plants that are native to the Appalachians. Even today, there are people who are very skilled at knowing which plants can be used for what purposes. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Momma say, "I thought it was a castle back then"?
Chapter 33 - May Day Parade …
When ladies of all ages attend special events, they want to be different from all of the others in attendance. Wearing the same dress or outfit as someone else would be a minor disaster! (This annotation contains an image)
How do the other girls see Melody Reece?
The Appalachian Mountains are full of coal. There is a long history in Appalachia of coal mining companies coming into the area and hiring miners from the local population. Traditionally, these miners have been terribly underpaid for the dangerous work they do. Some even feel that the coal mining companies take advantage of the miners. At the same time, the coal mines ruin the environment. On the other hand, there are those who argue that coal mining brings much needed jobs and money into the region. It is a very controversial topic even today. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Willie mean when he says that "..two dresses the same look different on different people"?
Chapter 34 - Confessing …
Even though breaking the light was an accident, do you think Pop has a reason to be upset? Does the family have extra money to replace things like the light? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 35 - Lures …
How would you describe Chili's character?
This is important information that could lead to a big conflict later in the book. Momma's mountain is full of coal, and the coal mining company wants it. This means they could offer Momma a lot of money for it, but would she sell the land that has been in her family for years and years? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 36 - Caught in the Wind …
Watch this video on theme. In a few pages, you will encounter one of the themes of To Come and Go Like Magic. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Chili mean when she says that Aunt Rose does laundry "for the better men in town"?
Many themes relating to "home" are found throughout literature. Here is one such line from a poem by the great American poet, Robert Frost. He wrote "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." As you continue to read the book, look for evidence of a theme relating to home. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 37 - In Line at the Piggly Wiggly …
Why does Chili hope that the lady doesn't hear Aunt Rose?
Being a good reader requires that you pay attention to the clues provided in the story. What does this information about the magazines reveal about the family's money situation? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 38 - Going to Mexico …
Based on what you have read in the text, what is Miss Matlock's goal with the map and cars?
Chapter 39 - Offerings 1 …
Is this the proper attitude that someone should have when strangers visit their church? Does it really matter where you sit? (This annotation contains an image)
Some churches believe that your tithes and offerings should equal 10% of your income. They base this on a verse in the book of Deuteronomy. However, that verse was written at a time when the Biblical economy was based upon agriculture. Therefore, many churches point toward the verses that instruct people to be "cheerful givers" and to give generously. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the preacher tell everyone to "stop"?
Chapter 41 - Sign-up Day …
It is not appropriate to refer to another student as being "slow" or a "nerd." These are hurtful terms. All people have different challenges and strengths. When authors have characters describe situations such as Chili is in this chapter, they do so in order to create realistic characters. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Miss Matlock upset with Chili and Willie?
Chapter 42 - Old Tate and Foxy Lady …
Why is it important to Chili that she leave Mercy Hill by herself?
Chapter 43 - Flying …
Before video games and electronics, kids could make fun out of anything. All that it took was a little imagination. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 44 - Willie’s Granny Dies …
Why do the students find it odd that Miss Matlock calls Willie's grandma "Helena"?
The pauper's lot or potter's field is where people without the money to purchase a private grave site are buried. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 45 - Winding Down …
How do Chili's and Pop's view on reading differ?
Chapter 46 - Workers …
Notice that Willie and Chili are getting braver with their visits to Miss Matlock's. Now, they are leaving in the truck with her. Are you anticipating what might happen? (This annotation contains an image)
What point is Miss Matlock making when she says, "What if, what if, what if"?
Chiggers are tiny bugs that burrow under your skin. They are harmless, but can cause you to itch terribly! Southern kids that play outside in the summer know all about chiggers! (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why does Willie choose to tell the wraith tale?
Chapter 47 - The Lives of Eels …
Could the author be using this tale about the eels to reinforce the theme about home? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 48 - Myra’s Poems …
What does the diary reveal about Myra?
Chapter 49 - Women in the Park …
Do you think that this might be why Myra doesn't join the family at the park? (This annotation contains an image)
How do Ginny and Chili differ?
This is another example of the author having characters say things that are considered hurtful in order to make the characters seem real. No one should be labeled as a "sissy" or anything else. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 50 - Looking at the Stars …
Why does Chili try to think of something smart to say?
Chapter 51 - Drooping Flowers and Friendships …
Read the title of this chapter, and make a prediction about what might happen. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Chili mean when she says that Ginny "looks like she's been set on a low sizzle"?
Have you noticed that Ginny is the Queen Bee and all of the other girls follow along with her? How might things be different if the other girls stood up to her on occasion? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 52 - Volcanoes …
Based on what you have read, why is Miss Matlock telling Willie and Chili about the places she's visited?
Chapter 53 - Happiness …
What does "happiness comes and goes like Wednesdays" mean?
This is a judgmental stereotype. These kinds of statements reflect a lack of understanding and respect for other people. It is included here to shape the character of Aunt Rose. (This annotation contains an image)
Myra believes that when she has her new hair style, she will be happy. Based on what you have read in the text, is this going to be enough to solve Myra's unhappiness? Make sure you use evidence from the text in your response.
Chapter 54 - Quilts and VISTAs …
The quilts we buy today are sewn by machine, but in the Appalachian Mountains quilts were sewn by hand. Appalachian women had a talent for turning scraps of fabric into beautiful works of art. Although they were beautiful, they were made for the practical purpose of keeping people warm. This picture shows a handmade Wedding Band quilt. (This annotation contains an image)
How does this scene with the VISTA lady trying to buy Aunt Rose's quilt contribute to the story?
Chapter 55 - The Dancer …
A cassette tape was the way that people used to listen to music. This photo shows a cassette tape. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 56 - Chili Supper …
What is the primary reason that Mercy Hill citizens are upset with the VISTA lady?
Tourism (visitors who come and spend money on hotels, restaurants, and souvenirs) has become a major industry in the Appalachians. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is out nation's most visited national park! (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 57 - Sewing and Sweetness …
How do Aunt Rose and Chili differ in their understanding of the phrase "you've got to live"?
Chapter 58 - Collecting Pop Bottles …
Before plastic drink bottles became common, soft drinks came in glass bottles. After the bottle was empty, it could be returned to the store for deposit money. You would get paid around a nickel a bottle! Many kids collected the bottles to earn deposit money. The photo shows an old Coke bottle with the deposit reminder on it. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Willie mean when he says that he lives in a "different world"?
Chapter 60 - Home Alone …
Why do you think Chili no longer feels like chasing the dogs through the house?
How do you feel about Chili reading her sister's diary? Maybe you have a brother or sister, and you have read something of theirs. How would you feel if someone read your personal writing? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 61 - Song of the Grasshopper …
Chapter 62 - The Music Man Knocks …
Bob Dylan is an American folk singer. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. He was especially popular in the 1960s and 1970s as he provided the musical backdrop for the counter culture movement. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why does Chili ask the man if he plays the piano?
Chapter 63 - The Lives of Rocks …
Don't forget to use your define feature with unfamiliar words. (This annotation contains an image)
"Everything changes" can also be a theme of To Come and Go Like Magic. Write a response using events and evidence from the book to support "everything changes" as a theme of the story.
Chapter 64 - Loose Threads …
Are you surprised that Myra took a college class without her parents knowing? Would they support Myra taking a philosophy class, or would they think that was foolish? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 65 - Sphinx Moths …
What is true about Lenny?
Chapter 66 - Friendship, Past Tense …
It is true that as you grow older and move through school, your friendships will change. You will make new friends, and you may not spend as much time with your longtime friends. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 67 - Pictures and Symbols …
Why is Chili worried about getting in the movies?
Have you ever been to see a movie, and the people around you are talking? It is very distracting and can ruin the movie you have paid to see! Today, the problem is cell phone use during movies. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 68 - Paradise …
Aunt Rose may not have a formal education, but that does not mean she is not smart. She knows how to make medication from plants, how to sew quilts from scraps of fabric, and how to survive in the mountains. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Aunt Rose mean when she says that she is "talking to Momma"?
Chapter 69 - Mean Streaks …
Myrtle Beach is in South Carolina and is a popular beach vacation destination for people living in the southeastern United States. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Mayme's main reason for sharing the news about Jerry Wilson?
Chapter 70 - Trees …
Based on what you have read in the text, why would saying Jerry Wilson's name "be like cursing"?
Chapter 71 - Fish and Flowers …
National Geographic magazine has been published for many years. It is known for its stunning photographs of exotic animals and places. In the past, before computers and cable TV, National Geographic was the way that people learned about the people and places of the world. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read, what upsets Chili the most about seeing the cheerleaders?
Chapter 72 - Polaroid Days …
Read this description of Mercy Hill. Could Chili be so focused on seeing the world that she is failing to appreciate the beauty of her home? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Chili mean when she says that "photos can only tell you so much?"
Chapter 73 - Bacon, Deans, and Gumdrops …
Have you ever missed the opportunity to stand up for a friend? Sometimes it may seem hard to speak-up, just like it was for Chili. However, you usually feel better when you are there for a friend. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Willie "walking with his head down"?
Chapter 75 - Selling Candy …
Have you ever tried this? It might sound strange, but combining the sweet, ice-cold goodness of Coca-Cola with the salty crunch of peanuts is a practice that goes back for generations and brings back fond memories for Southerners of all ages. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Joe Ed mean when he calls Mercy Hill "God's country"?
Chapter 76 - Bad Luck and Promises …
Remember the annotation that you read earlier in the text regarding coal mining. Coal mine owners are not usually viewed favorably in Appalachia. Many people feel they take advantage of the miners. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Chili not sure that she wants to hear what Aunt Rose has to say about the Matlocks?
Do you agree with this statement? Is it true that people can be unbelievably cruel to one another? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Aunt Rose mean by "it's easy to run away"?
Chapter 77 - Mrs. Bright, Whose Name is Amanda …
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures. The seizures can be frightening, and there are certain things that should be done when someone is suffering a seizure. Think about why Willi's momma would not have medicine for her seizures. (This annotation contains an image)
Throughout To Come and Go Like Magic, you have read the differing views regarding the VISTAs and the locals. Based on what you have read in the text, write a paragraph describing how the VISTAs view their role in Mercy Hill and how the citizens see the VISTAs.Make sure you cite evidence from the text in your writing.
Chapter 78 - Pills, Pills, and More Pills …
What does "I'm a walking drugstore" mean?
Do you think that Chili is being too forward with her questions? Should she be asking these things of Miss Matlock? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Miss Matlock tell Chili that "the world will open up"?
Chapter 79 - Crazies …
Cremation has become a fairly common practice in recent years. However, not having a "proper burial" would have been unheard of in Appalachia. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 80 - What’s Left …
Based on what you read in the text, what can you tell about the family's point of view regarding books?
Some people call this a "lie of omission." This means that lying isn't just what you say; it can also be what you leave out of what you say. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 81 - California Dreamin’ Like the Old Song …
Why is Pop most likely upset?
According to Pop, any woman that leaves Mercy Hill and comes back is a "floozie." This is an old term that means you have a bad reputation. Do you think he's being fair in his judgement? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 82 - Under the Bleachers …
Why does Chili hear Miss Matlock's voice at this moment?
Chapter 83 - Birthday Presents …
This is an old expression that means "I don't care." (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 84 - Chasing the Sphinx Moths …
Why has Chili run away form Uncle Lu's party?
Chapter 85 - Talking Birds and Angel Hair …
Milkweed grows up to six feet tall and has large, broad leaves. The leaves sometimes have red veins. The plant has green pods which turn brown before bursting open to let out fluffy seeds. (This annotation contains an image)
How does this episode of Mercy running away and becoming injured contribute to the story?
Chapter 86 - To Come and Go Like Magic …
This sentence became the title of the book. Why do you think this makes a good title? Does it reflect Chili's complicated feelings about Mercy Hill? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on evidence in the text, what is most accurate about Miss Matlock?
Why do you think Pop is racing home in the middle of the day? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 88 - Times Change …
What does Chili mean when she says, "...they don't give the rest of us the time of day..."?
Chapter 89 - September Light …
Have you ever walked into a classroom where you thought you would know no one, only to see a familiar face? It is a very comforting feeling! (This annotation contains an image)