Sweep is the story of 11 year old chimney sweep Nan Sparrow. It is set in London in 1875 when "masters" used indentured children or orphans to climb and clean the narrow chimneys. It was dangerous work and many children died from fires, falls and sickness. Nan Sparrow is one of the best climbers in London. But one day, she gets stuck in a flue and is in danger of being burned alive when she is saved by a golem made of ash named Charlie. Charlie becomes Nan's protector. And together they work to save the chimney sweeps of London. Sweep is a beautiful story about creating a family and helping those in need. It also gives children an introduction to the harsh reality of child labor. We gave it nine stars.
Here are Finnegan, Lourdes and Sabine's answers to a few discussion questions about the novel.
Did the book immediately hook you or take some time to get into?
Finn: It took some time to get into because there wasn't that much action at the beginning. The beginning was a lot about Nan's experience as a sweep. But I really started to get into it once Nan got stuck in the chimney and is saved by Charlie.
What character did you like the most in the book?
Sabine: My favorite characters were Charlie and Toby. I liked Charlie because he was very sweet and caring about Nan. And I liked Toby because he was a good inventor and was nice to everyone.
What character did you like least in the book?
Lourdes: I didn't like Master Crudd or Roger. Master Crudd is mean to all the sweeps and doesn't treat them right. I didn't like Roger because when Nan tried to help him he didn't want to be helped.
If you had the chance to ask the author one question about this book, what would it be?
Finn: Was Charlie a golem or not?
If you could hear this story from another character's perspective who would it be?
Finn: Crudd because he's the bad guy.
Lourdes: Toby because he didn't always tell Nan what he thought. So I'd like to hear what he was thinking.
Sabine: Ms. Bloom because I'd like to hear more about her childhood.