Cover image for Sweep : the story of a girl and her monster
Title:
Sweep : the story of a girl and her monster
Title:
Sweep : the story of a girl and her monster
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, 2018.
Physical Description:
344 pages : maps ; 22 cm
General Note:
Maps on endpapers.
Abstract:
In nineteenth-century England, after her father's disappearance Nan Sparrow, ten, works as a "climbing boy," aiding chimney sweeps, but when her most treasured possessions end up in a fireplace, she unwittingly creates a golem.

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Summary

Summary

A 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner!

It's been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.

When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature--a golem --made from soot and ash.

Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a new life--saving each other in the process. Lyrically told by one of today's most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.


Author Notes

Jonathan Auxier is the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener , Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard , and Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes , which the Wall Street Journal called "as delightful a magical story as readers . . . will hope to find." He lives in Pittsburgh with his family.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

A chimney sweep disappears from a London rooftop, leaving six-year-old Nan Sparrow alone, save for a hat and a lump of mysteriously ever-warm charcoal-her char. To survive, Nan joins a gang of "climbing boys" owned by the abusive Wilkie Crudd. By age 11, she is the finest sweep of them all, but following a brutal chimney fire, she discovers that her char has become a golem, which she names Charlie, and that he has saved her life. As the two hide from Crudd, Nan grows to love Charlie and his particular brand of magic, and she learns that golems are, by nature, ephemeral: if Charlie can flame up, he can almost certainly flame out. A cast of fully fleshed (and sooted) characters contribute texture and community, and Auxier (The Night Gardener) mixes moments of triumph and pure delight (new snow, rooftop vistas) with dark, Dickensian themes (child labor, sickness, poverty). Told in two allusive sections-"Innocence" and "Experience," after Blake's volume-that pivot between Nan's past and present, this dazzling, warmhearted novel contemplates selflessness and saving, deep love and what makes a monster. Ages 8-12. Agent: Joe Regal, Regal Hoffmann & Assoc. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Victorian London is often magically made over in novels, and Auxier (The Night Gardener, 2014) uses Jewish folklore as kindling for his wondrous, yet at times grim, story of Nan Sparrow, one of London's cadre of child chimney sweeps. Nearly 12, she works for the heartless Wilkie Crudd, who is nothing like the fatherly Sweep, who taught Nan to climb a chimney better than any boy. Though the Sweep disappeared five years ago, she still dreams of him and keeps the warm lump of charcoal he left behind in her pocket. On a routine job, Nan gets stuck in a flue and is saved by the Sweep's coal, which reveals itself to be a golem. Nan lets Crudd believe she died and hides with the golem, Charlie, in an abandoned house. At first, the freedom is blissful, but as Charlie grows larger, Nan becomes concerned about keeping him safe though Nan is the one who needs protecting. Auxier wipes away the grime from a bleak chapter in history where children were forced to work dangerous jobs that claimed many lives. He questions what makes one a monster and applauds helping others, activism, education, earthly marvels, and the possibility of magic. Nan's fiery personality will attract readers like moths, and Auxier's unusual blend of mythology and history will keep them transfixed.--Julia Smith Copyright 2018 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A stunning historical fantasy novel about the power of friendship, our potential for courage, and the beauty of remembering loved ones, set in Victorian England. Nan is one of the many child sweeps who have the dangerous job of cleaning chimneys. She wakes one morning to find her beloved father figure, the Sweep, gone, a lump of char in his place. Years later, Nan gets caught in a chimney fire and is rescued by the char, who springs to life as a Golem named Charlie. Nan soon befriends a young teacher named Miss Bloom, from whom she learns that Golems no longer live after their purpose is served. When a young sweep dies, Nan, her fellow sweeps, and Miss Bloom organize a protest on May Day to reveal the dangers of their job to the general public. Meanwhile, Nan realizes the Golem's true purpose and with it, the difficulty of letting go. Auxier phenomenally weaves historical facts and fantasy. While the feats of these child sweeps seem incredible, Auxier provides back matter in the form of historical notes to clarify fact from fiction. Nan's strong yet vulnerable personality will appeal to readers, and a realistic set of secondary characters add depth to the plot. The novel's structure is a nod to William Blake and will delight teachers and librarians. VERDICT Excellent writing and skillful integration of historical fact with compelling characters make this a must-buy where middle grade fantasy is in demand.-Amy McInerney, Falmouth Elementary School, ME © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

"Nan, tell us about the Sweep." It was dark in the coal bin, but Nan could tell it was Newt who was asking. Newt was newest to Crudd's crew. He was barely six years old; he didn't know all the rules. The first rule was you never asked another climber about his life Before. There were five climbing boys in the coal bin: Newt, Whittles, Shilling-Tom, Roger, and Nan. Nan wasn't a boy, but you'd never know that to look at her. She was as grimy as the rest of them. "Who told you about the Sweep?" Nan said. "Was it Roger?" "Keep me out of it, Cinderella," Roger muttered. He called Nan "Cinderella" because he thought it annoyed her. He was right. "No one told me," Newt said. "I dreamed about him. Last night I slept in your corner. I dreamed him and the girl were both singing to all the people. Only I woke up before I could hear the words." This was a thing that happened: the dreaming. Every so often one of the boys would say that he had dreamed about the Sweep. Nan couldn't explain it. It seemed to happen whenever one of them fell asleep close to her. All she knew was that she didn't like it. The Sweep was hers . "It was about you, wasn't it?" Newt whispered. "You're the girl from my dream." "No," Nan said. "I'm the girl who wants to go to sleep." She'd spent fourteen hours climbing chimneys and knew there were more waiting for her tomorrow. "You're splashing in the wrong puddle, Newt," said a raspy voice by the slat window. It was Whittles. He was only eight, but his voice sounded like an old man's on account of breathing too much chimney soot. "Me and Shilling-Tom been dreaming about the girl and her Sweep for years. Not once have we gotten Nan to fess up that it's her." "Aye," said Shilling-Tom. He was Whittles's best mate. "You might as well try to get a second helping from Trundle's pot." Trundle was the woman who cared for them. If you could call it that. "I won't fess up because it's nonsense," Nan said. And it was nonsense. How could two people have the same dream? "Is the Sweep a real person?" Newt asked. "He sounds lovely. Much nicer than Master Crudd." He whispered this last bit. Just in case Crudd could hear him upstairs. "Sweeps aren't supposed to be lovely," Nan said. "They're grimy and tough as stone. Just like chimneys." Maybe lovely was a fine thing to call a person in Newt's old life, but he was a climber now. He wouldn't last long if he kept using words like that. She heard the boy move closer. "Please, Nan?" Her eyes had adjusted to the dim light, and she could see the outline of his head. With his curls shaved of, he really did look like a newt. They had named him well. "Just tell me if he's real. I promise I won't tell the others." "Don't beg. A climber never begs." That was another rule. "Maybe I can sleep here next to you?" He clasped her arm. "Then I'll dream about him all on my own?" Nan knew what the boy was saying. He thought that some-how the dreams were coming from her , which was impossible. She pulled away. "Find your own corner." "Aw, go easy on the kid." It was Whittles. "It's only been a week since he . . . you know . . ." He didn't say the rest. None of them knew what had happened to Newt's family to have him end up here, but it had to have been bad. It was always bad. "I'm not begging," Newt said. "But it's a true fact: I can't sleep without a bedtime story. My mummy always says . . ." He corrected himself. ". . . always said . . ." His voice faltered. "It's just I thought hearing a story about the Sweep might help me fall asleep." Nan remembered when she had felt the same way. That was a long time ago. That was Before. Excerpted from Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.