Academic journal article Language Arts

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

Academic journal article Language Arts

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

Article excerpt

Winner Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster Written by Jonathan Auxier Amulet, 2018, 368 pp., ISBN 978-1-4197-3140-2

"Sometimes, on nights when there was no food to eat, the girl and her Sweep used to make story soup" (p. 58). Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep in Victorian London and now that she is orphaned and indentured to cruel Master Crudd, memories of her absent guardian's stories sustain her, as does a small, strangely warm lump of coal (her char) that he has left her.

Life is gritty, exhausting, hunger-filled, and often short for the children who sweep the city's chimneys. When working at a school, Nan becomes stuck in a flue. Her rival, Roger, does the unthinkable, lighting the fire beneath to force her with the "Devil's Nudge" (p. 53). Magically, Nan is saved by her char, which has come to life. Taking full advantage of her supposed death, Nan moves into an empty mansion and begins to educate her char, now called Charlie, whom she now knows to be a Golem. Befriended by Tobey, a mudlark (or riverbank scavenger) slightly older than she, and Miss Bloom, a teacher and activist against child labor, Nan inspires a May Day protest to expose the mistreatment of child chimney sweeps. …

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