By Jonathan Auxier
AR level: 4.5
AR points: 10.0
Word count: 68,335
I suggest 4th through 7th grade.
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster is a tale that made me hold my breath, laugh, and cry. Set in 1875 London, the novel will never let you think of chimney sweeps the same way. In fact, before your child digs into this story, you might have a quick conversation about what a chimney sweep did back when.
Sweep is more than a story of a child overcoming incredible odds to survive. It is a story of friendship. I didn’t know anything about golems before this reading this book, but I was fascinated by the culture woven into the narrative, and I believe children will learn without even meaning to do so. All I can say is, Auxier is a brilliant writer (give his The Night Gardener a shot as well).
Here’s the description from B&N:
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.